Gloria Viscasillas addresses more than 200 education leaders during a presentation on the STEP initiative at the Creole Center for Caribbean Science and Technology in Caguas.
With the goal of transforming Puerto Rico’s schools into entrepreneurial communities and creating hubs of innovation that will serve as the foundation for Puerto Rico’s sustainable economic growth, Popular Inc. of Echar Pa’lante recently launched its toolkit for entrepreneurship program called STEP.
The initiative was published at the Creole Center for Caribbean Science and Technology in Caguas.
The mission of the STEP initiative is to develop future entrepreneurs through a curriculum review that integrates entrepreneurship and innovation into every grade from kindergarten through senior year of high school, beginning this school year.
The initiative is promoted by Popular and supported by experts from the Echar Pa’Lante Multisectoral Alliance, which includes the island’s seven flagship university institutions, as well as various private sector and non-profit organizations, officials said.
The initiative is the first of its kind in Puerto Rico, involving leaders of the Puerto Rico Department of Education and representatives from the Association of Private Schools, the Diocese of Catholic Schools and the Alliance for Alternative Education.
„This is an important moment for education in Puerto Rico. It is a moment to begin a radical change that the island needs in the educational process of our children and youth,” said Gloria Viscasillas, Echar Pa’lante Multisector Alliance’s Eminent and Coordinating Chair.
„This initiative is being carried out considering future work trends and the economic demands that new generations will face,” Viscasillas said.
The initiative aims to revamp the curriculum currently in use by the education sector and private schools and empower teachers to develop entrepreneurial skills in children from an early age.
Echar Pa’lante’s partners in entrepreneurship and innovation education worked with the Department of Education to develop a model for K-12 curriculum transformation that integrates essential skills and competencies for the future across all subjects and grades.
The STEP initiative also focuses on developing essential skills such as communication, collaboration, change management, critical thinking, innovation and creative problem solving. This is combined with knowledge of basic economics and management of personal finances at school level, areas that students may not have mastered when they transition to university level and begin their careers.
„The recommended model is aligned with academic standards for each grade and subject. In addition, the recommended exercises reinforce reading and math to complement PRDE’s efforts to prioritize core areas,” Viscasillas said.
„We believe that the transformation of the curriculum and the implementation of these new skills inside and outside the classroom will give our students the tools to manage the challenges of their communities through self-reflection, self-direction and self-management,” he added.