As I walked into the presentation room, I heard silent greetings in cold shuddering breaths from a small group of STEM student presenters who looked respectable in their formal attire accessorized with white identification tags. Shortly after a warm smile of response, I joined the other panel members and gave a signal for the presentation to start off.
In a few more days for the second time around, our school will be holding its three-day ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship Exposition’ where Grade 12 senior high school students are expected to showcase to the public their innovative and marketable strand-related products and services together with their executable business plans.
While our young entrepreneurs under the Accountancy, Business, and Management (ABM) strand have wider niche markets to choose from as they can decide whatever innovative and marketable products to introduce, our Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) students are compelled to incorporate scientific theories and concepts they have learned from their Chemistry and Physics classes.
Likewise, Mobile Application and Web Development (MAWD) students focus on the development of mobile games and educational apps, as well as interactive websites for the promotions of such. Young chefs completing their Culinary Arts (CULY) program usually add twists to the tastes and presentations of local delicacies, the same way the Restaurant and Bar Operations (REBO) students do with their wines and liquors.
Apart from these product innovations, tourist accommodations and other related services are at the center of the creative business ideas of our Tourism Operations (TOPS) and Hotel Operations (HOPS) students. Usually, they survey potential land areas for conversion into the next tourist destinations, and subsequently, prepare comprehensive feasibility studies.
During the three-day expo, these young innovators and entrepreneurs set their booths in an expansive gymnasium, do the product and service presentations, and even close deals with the visiting students, faculty, parents, and other invited business enthusiasts.
Last year, the expo visitors were highly impressed by various organic consumer products like the hibiscus (gumamela) bath soap, mentha piperita pomade, banana peel facial mask, and temperature color changing nail polish, among others. Other practical tech innovations include multipurpose GPS emergency and tracking device, multipurpose solar power bank, and thermal flashlight.
Since the past few weeks, our senior high school students have been presenting their products, research papers, and business plans. Across all strands, these requirements come in an interdisciplinary performance task where teachers sit together and collaborate with the students for the improvement of the outputs.
The Philippine Senior High School (SHS) program covers the last two years of the recently introduced K to 12 program and comprises Grades 11 and 12, where students are expected to go through a core curriculum and specialized courses under their chosen tracks and strands.
As guaranteed, these additional two years will help equip SHS students with preparatory skills for future employment, entrepreneurship, technical and vocational skills development, and higher education. For instance, with the Entrepreneurship course across all strands, students learn the basics of establishing a business including market analysis, marketing and distribution strategies, capital allocations, and basic accounting.