Corporate Social Responsibility of Private Colleges and Universities

Article excerpt

Byline: EDUARDO P. GARROVILLAS Jose Rizal University

EDUCATION is an integral part of development. Therefore, valid indictments hurled against the education sector deserve the attention of everyone interested in development, e.g., the EDCOM Report which says that Philippine education is experiencing continuous decline owing to inadequate investment and poor management; Bro. Dizon of CHED saying that 75 percent of our high school graduates do not deserve to go to college; the mismatch of college graduates skills and competencies, vis-a-vis the requirements of both the domestic and global economy; the dearth of university-based researches to inspire entrepreneurship, improve efficiency, generate higher employment and boost the value of production that the country needs; and the overall degeneration of the quality of education all of these warrant a serious examination, among others, of the corporate social responsibility of private colleges and universities in the land.

The interest in the global discourse on corporate social responsibility (CSR) has grown exponentially in the last decade. And this phenomenon could be attributed to a number of factors: 1) the classic "debate" between the proCSR (Adam Smith, Andrew Carnegie, et al.), versus the proponents of economist Milton Friedman and his controversial argument that a business primary responsibility is to maximize profits; and that businesses should produce goods and services efficiently and leave the solution of social problems to concerned individuals and government agencies; 2) the growing body of CSR data, both quantitative and qualitative; 3) key global developments, e.g., increased stakeholder activism, more sophisticated stakeholder engagement, proliferation of codes, standards, indicators and guidelines on CSR, concept of accountability throughout the value chain, increased demands for corporate governance transparency and reporting, and advances in information technology that sharpen the focus on CSR and enhance the speed of CSR information flow; and 4) the substantial growth in the number of external standards produced for business by governmental, non-governmental, and concerned advocacy organizations, e.g., UN, APEC, and cause-oriented groups.

Conspicuously missing in this global discourse is the voice from the academe, more specifically, the higher educational institutions (HEIs). As an academician I would like to advocate for a more proactive participation of private HEIs in the ongoing global discourse on CSR. Specifically, within the ambit of the normative and progressive functions of schools, as citizens and taxpayers we have the right to see the CSR scorecard of HEIs in the Philippines, particularly the private educational institutions, whether profit or non-profit, sectarian or nonsectarian. After all, the bigger bulk, in fact 80 percent of colleges and universities in the land, is private; only 20 percent is public. And these private educational entities are "marketing" the most important consumer goods of all, education; which is badly needed by the economy for national development. Definitely, private HEIs have a major accountability in-so-far as producing the human capital needed by the economy is concerned. For one, it is public knowledge that the typical CSR-beneficiaries of big businesses are the educational institutions. It is therefore, interesting to know their CSR-scorecard, or how these CSR-beneficiaries are doing their own corporate social responsibility; which is built-in in the trifocal mandate of universities, i. …