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IPOPHL collaborates with science high schools, sets to ramp up IP education in PH

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From left, DITTB Director Cruz-Yap, Deputy DG Teodoro C. Pascua, DG Barba, Deputy DG Nelson P. Laluces, and PSHS Executive Director Habacon during the MOA signing at the virtual ceremony held last September 25
Photo from IPOPHL

By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios

With a vision to widen the awareness of the importance of intellectual property, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) signed a memorandum of agreement with the Philippine Science High School System (PSHS) last September 25, thereby achieving a big step towards its much-sought goal of mainstreaming intellectual property (IP) learning in high school.

“From the earlier days of IPOPHL, upon the effectivity of Republic Act 8293 or the IP Code of the Philippines, we have yearned to see the day when we are able to mainstream IP into the high school education system,” Director General Rowel S. Barba said at the virtual signing.

“We can truly say that with the signing of this MOA, IPOPHL and the PSHS, with its 16 campus-members, have together reached a breakthrough goal for the country in mainstreaming IP education,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mary Grace Cruz-Yap, Director of IPOPHL’s Documentation, Information and Technology Transfer Bureau (DITTB), said fostering the younger generation to appreciate IP’s role in driving innovation is a transformative step for scaling up the country’s innovation.

“As it is in secondary education where students begin to do research, we need to hone high school students’ understanding to ensure that their research works are made relevant to moving societies forward and to teach them how to value their own creations as well as of others,” Cruz-Yap said.

“We hope other high schools will follow suit so they can optimize the innovative potential of their students,” she added.

Integrating IP in school curriculums is part of DITTB’s top priorities and of its broader IP education goals which span from secondary to post-graduate education.

In this endeavor, IPOPHL has advanced at the college level with its 2019 MOA with the Commission on Higher Education which will soon integrate IP modules across college and university curriculums. It has also enjoined the support of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, through a memorandum of understanding, to institutionalize an IP policy across its technical institutes and technical skills training centers.

Under its newest MOA with PSHS, IPOPHL is tasked to provide assistance on PSHS’ IP awareness campaigns; periodically conduct IP learning workshops for select PSHS students, faculty and researchers, who have tasked to cascade their learnings to the members of the PSHS community; and hold capacity-building seminar-workshops such as on Patent Searching, Claims Drafting, and Disclosure Writing and other areas that may assist the PSHS community in the protection of their IPs.

For its part, PSHS Executive Director Lilia T. Habacon said the MOA is seen to help the 16 science campuses it oversees “to build environments that are conducive to the effective, efficient and fair use of the IP system.”

“With IPOPHL, PSHS will be guided judiciously in respecting  IP rights and leveraging these rights, both integral in the core activities of academic institutions and their viability as national movers of innovation,” Habacon said.

Through the partnership with IPOPHL, PSHS campuses, beginning the academic year 2021-2022, will include IP modules into relevant subjects and other modes of learning and conduct activities that will promote awareness.

The MOA also paves the way for IPOPHL and PSHS to institutionalize across the PSHS the Young IP Advocates program which builds a network of student-led organizations in high schools across the country. Members are inducted and trained by IPOPHL to be young advocates for the creation, protection, and use of the intellectual property.

By investing in the youth, IPOPHL hopes to attain long-term goals from building an IP system that is sustainable for fostering innovation.

“We know we cannot keep the students in high school forever. They will eventually graduate and move on to higher education and into the big world. And that is where our hope lies… that from the seeds we plant here, they will bear fruit wherever they may go beyond the walls of their alma mater… spreading creativity, respecting IP, inventing the future,” Barba concluded.

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