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Forging meaningful industry-academe partnerships

/ 12:53 AM October 25, 2014

I was at the inauguration of Cavite State University’s (CvSU) Service Management Program (SMP) Computer Lab, the first of its kind in the country, last Oct. 15. The lab’s 25 computers are part of the ICT Preparation budget for the Commission on Higher Education’s IT BPM Growth Area Project currently being implemented by the IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines (Ibpap) for 17 SUCs (state universities and colleges) nationwide.

The SMP itself has a number of notable components and the SMP Lab is one of them. But the most important one is the 21-unit specialization track prescribed by CHEd CMOs 6 and 34 series 2012, for business administration and information technology students who would like to improve and enhance their suitability for careers in the Information Technology & Business Process Management (IT BPM) industry. The SMP specialization track does this through four electives, namely Service Culture, Systems Thinking, Business Communications and BPO Fundamentals (101 & 102), capped by a 600-hour internship stint at an IT BPM company.

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CHEd’s regional offices say that as a prerequisite to offering the SMP electives, a university should have Ibpap-certified SMP teachers and a memorandum of agreement with an industry partner. From Nov. 3 to 13, Ibpap will be conducting its faculty training for all four SMP electives at the Jose Abad Santos campus of Arellano University. Interested HEIs (higher education institutions) may get in touch with Ibpap through [email protected] to register for the training.

The next step is to sign up an IT BPM industry partner. Which brings me back to CvSU’s SMP Lab and how it exemplifies a genuine industry-academe partnership.

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At the barebones level, the SMP Lab is simply a network of computers running Ibpap’s BEST (Basic English Skills Training) and Adept (Advanced English for Pre-Employment Training) software; both are designed to help students significantly improve their communication skills in English through a combination of teaching and language proficiency exercises. The student can repeat the exercises as much as he wants and progress at his own pace.

However, the SMP Lab, as a collaborative endeavor, was fitted out to IT BPM specifications and branded by Infosys, whose country manager, Rhodora “Ayee” Campos, was recently named one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World (Global FWN100™) by Filipina Women’s Network. Infosys is a global leader in consulting technology and outsourcing solutions with over 29,000 employees from 66 nations. Infosys Philippines is a Center for Excellence for Customer Service.

In her remarks at the inauguration ceremony, CvSU president Divinia C. Chavez emphasized that the presence of an award-winning company like Infosys in the CvSU campus underscores her university’s commitment to continuously enhance the competencies and global competitiveness of CvSU graduates. Campos responded by saying Infosys shares the same commitment.

CvSU’s dean Derrick Rupido said that one good way to get partnership efforts going is to work on the internship program, especially since the SMP requires 600 hours or about four months of intensive practicum.

By and large, graduating students believe they learn better and faster as interns in an actual workplace. There’s really nothing like being in the thick of things, attempting to meet real deadlines with real-world consequences.

Meanwhile, companies that have been engaged as internship hosts by HEIs can attest to the “added value” derived from well-crafted internship programs, especially in terms of finding the right talent. More than determining suitability, internships are an excellent opportunity to gauge the career potential of the interns.

Ideally, the internship experience is meant to be a process of discovery for the intern, the company and the HEI.

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Properly implemented internship programs directly address the issue of the mismatch between jobs and skills. As such they contribute greatly to our global competitiveness. Recognizing this, the CHEd issued Memorandum Order 23 series 2009, establishing internship and On-The-Job Training guidelines for all HEIs.

CMO 23 provides college students with the opportunity to acquire practical knowledge, skills and desirable attitudes and values in reputable establishments and industries and to enhance their work competencies and competitiveness. At the same time, a good internship program strengthens and enriches the HEIs’ degree programs.

Also, CMO 23 gives students opportunities to learn from, and network with, experienced professionals; handle new challenges and complex tasks or problems; and “identify future career directions and become candidates for future job openings.”

Lastly, CMO 23 provides the foundation for a meaningful and sustainable partnership between the HEI and the company by mandating the parties involved to jointly develop “a Training Manual or Plan for the student trainee/intern specifying goals and objectives (desired outcomes and how these outcomes will be achieved), knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies that the student trainee should acquire in each learning area, assignments, and schedule of activities, among others.”

Butch Hernandez ([email protected]) is the executive director of the Eggie Apostol Foundation and education lead for talent development at the Ibpap.

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TAGS: Butch Hernandez, Cavite State University, Commentary, Industry-academe partnerships, opinion
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