An Andrew L. Gotianun Sr. Center for Integrated Technologies, a tech-voc senior high school will open at Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan Manresa campus in Cagayan de Oro City to cater to less privileged but academic qualified youth, complete with full scholarship in tuition fees and board and lodging.
In a Board of Trustees Speaker Series hosted by Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, Fr. Roberto Yap, SJ revealed that the Andrew Gotianun foundation has donated a hefty amount to build and establish a tech-voc residential school in Cagayan de Oro City under the management of Xavier University (XU) where students will live and enjoy tuition and dormitory scholarship. The donation, he said will allow the school to build two new buildings.
Fr. Yap said this is a school for the poor which will give a full three-year training to deepen academic scales and tech-voc training and really give good Jesuit education including character formation.
In a speech, Jonathan Gotianun, chairman of Filinvest Development Corporation said that their family has chosen to put up tech-voc school in Mindanao for various reasons.
Based on the research he made about Mindanao. He said, Mindanao continues to lag behind the rest of the Philippines in almost every aspect of development.
In a presentation he made, he described that Mindanao despite having 25% of population, only contributes to 15% of country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) having the lowest GDP per capita of P27,000 while Luzon’s National Capital Region (NCR) with the highest GDP per capita of P430,000. This number is 16 times greater than that of ARMM’s. He said, this shows a great inequality and points to a big gap in terms of development.
In terms of average annual family income, he said, Mindanao is behind Luzon and Visayas. Again ARMM is the lowest at 129,000 per annum which is one-third of NCRs. With regard to average annual family savings, Mindanao has the lowest figures, while top three regions belong to Luzon. ARMM has the lowest figure of P17,000 per year while highest is Region 1 which is four times greater than ARMM. Ultimately, regions with lowest annual family income also has the lowest average annual family savings.
As far as labor force is concerned, he said that participation seem to be similar across regions with most of these between 60-65%. These participation rates are low, but ARMM is worst at 48%.
Also, of those between six and 24 years of age, out of school percentages are also the highest in Mindanao when compared to other regions in the country. He said, highest out of school youth percentages are all in Mindanao. On health, life expectancy are lowest in all areas in Philippines. However, females live longer than males in all regions. But if you want to live longer, whether male or female, on average you have better significantly chance to do so just by living in Luzon, he said.
He shared, “We felt Mindanao was the area of the greatest need. We also felt that institutions in Luzon were already getting a lot of support. We wanted to do something in the periphery, in the boundary among the marginalized.”
Further, he shared that they chose to support tech-voc since this is an area that did not get enough attention but could clearly address the need for employable skills in the manufacturing sector. They also wanted to support kids who come from financially disadvantaged families who just wanted to learn a skill that can sustain themselves and their families right after high school. These are kids who can’t afford or simply aren’t interested to pursue a college education.
“By teaching them an employable skill through tech-voc, we can open opportunities for them to break out of the cycle of poverty and hopelessness,” he said.
The donation of the Gotianun foundation will just be enough to complete phase 1 of the school which can accommodate 500 students. The ultimate goal is to go beyond this and quickly expand the school to accommodate 1,500 students every year by building phase 2 and phase 3.
Finally, he encouraged educators, alumni and all sectors to contribute and take action to help. He said that whatever happens in Mindanao will affect everyone living in it in some significant way. He urged each one to be a catalyst for change and to work together to achieve what is seemingly impossible. He said that this school is a way of paying it forward by opening doors of opportunities for the youth.
For more information on this scholarship or to apply, visit www.xu.edu.ph/apply. (JMOR/PIA10)