The true hallmark of a progressive and global-minded learning institution is how it manages to be one step ahead in terms of carefully studying and adapting global trends and directions.
The Multiple Intelligence International School (MIIS) best exemplifies such description. “Our commitment to provide an education that will allow our students to lead globally, requires that we are vision-oriented towards 21st century skills and jobs that their generation will need,” says Joy Abaquin, pioneer of multiple intelligence framework in the Philippines and founding directress of MIIS.
MIIS has been pioneering entrepreneurship in the Philippines in the basic education level. “Even when it was not yet mandated by the Department of Education, we already had the entrepreneurial track embedded in our curriculum,” says Abaquin.
Today’s global trend, particularly in light of the Asean Integration, demands that kids be future-ready. Abaquin explains: “With that in mind, when we envisioned looking for partners, what we wanted was to look into a partnership that had a more global outlook in terms of where to take entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial skills.”
MIIS has recently signed a memorandum of agreement with Junior Achievement (JA) Philippines. The Multiple Intelligence International School is the first Philippine high school to partner with the prestigious international organization and the Business Skills Pass™ (BSP) Program. Piloting this year, JA's programs will be integrated into the MI school’s existing entrepreneurship program and into the ABM (Accounting, Business, and Management) program for Grades 11 and 12.
Junior Achievement (JA) Philippines, a non-profit, non-stock international organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs fits the bill. Its parent organization, Junior Achievement Inc. (JA) is the world’s largest and fastest-growing non-profit economic education organization. Founded in 1919 by Theodore Vail, president of American Telephone & Telegraph; Horoce Moses, president of Strathmore Paper Co,; and Senator Murray Crane of Massachusetts, JA was founded with the intent of bringing education to a new level by linking the business and education communities. It was introduced in the Philippines in 1967.
Built around three pillars, namely entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and work-preparedness, Abaquin believes that MI students will greatly benefit from the JA Program’s emphasis on the importance of financial knowhow in running and managing an enterprise. “Our kids are very strong innovators and good at thinking of business concepts. It would be good to give them enhanced skills on the knots and bolts of running a business such as licensing and business registration. Managing a business is different from drawing up business concepts.”
Throughout the integrated program, JA executive director Krishna Alejandrino assures that students “will be guided on how to put up their business, from conceptualization to implementation, including how to register with the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) and SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission).” Abaquin welcomes this input. “It would be a good stretch for our kids’ minds to be given the concept
JA’s vast global network and roster of mentors who are experts from the business community will also enhance the school’s current established program. “Over the years, we’ve really tried to give students through the MI Entrepreneurship Program’s three Es: Experts, Exposure, and Experience. When we looked at what JA would potentially give us, it’s very much aligned with those things,” shares Abaquin. “As an international school, when we think about the skills that our students need, we just don’t think local, we think international. And hopefully, the connections of JA internationally will allow us to do that. Maybe some schools will not be interested in that aspect. But we are since we know what an Entrepreneurship Program looks like. We’ve experienced it.”
Worth noting is how MIIS has pioneered the first Kids Can! Bazaar in the country in 2000. Kids Can! Bazaar is the only one of its kind that is run by kids as social entrepreneurs.
Some of JA Philippines’ partners are some of the top corporations in the country today, which includes Smart, Meralco, General Electric, RFM, Unilab, PLDT, HP, Nestle, Mercedes-Benz, Petron, Security Bank and Oxford Business Group. “The most important part of the JA program is the mentoring,” says Alejandrino. “We have a lot of mentors from leading companies to provide us with the skills that we need to mentor the students. We have partners from the business sector that will impart practical know-how on how to put up and implement businesses.”
JA’s current path is geared towards technology and innovation which sits well with Abaquin’s vision for the MI school to be constantly innovative. “We like to think of ideas ahead of time because I think that’s what gives our kids the edge. If you want to say that the curriculum should be innovative, then you have to give them opportunities that others don’t have or mentors that others don’t have.”
Abaquin sees a partnership that will bring about a generation of young people who value entrepreneurship, understand the dynamics of business and economics and are workforce ready.
“A partnership with JA and their network will allow students the additional networking with potentially like-minded individuals and schools that are serious about developing that kind of minds,” says Abaquin.
It will also open doors to other students from junior high schools who want to go into the MIIS Senior High School ABM program to help them bring out their entrepreneurial mind.