Evolving. Flourishing. Rising.
Mapúa University celebrates growth, resilience in 96th founding anniversary

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Evolving. Flourishing. Rising. Mapúa University celebrates growth, resilience in 96th founding anniversary

Mapúa University remains one of the leading higher education institutions in the Philippines. For decades, it has established its integrity as one of the country’s prominent education institutions that effectively equip students to become drivers of social development.

Unbeknown to many, behind the victories of Mapúa lies a story of renaissance. In history, the Renaissance marked the rebirth of art, science, culture and philosophy following the Dark Ages.

On its 96th founding anniversary, Mapúa University revels in renaissance to exhibit its aggressive evolution committed to excellence, how it sustained an insistent hunger for success and continued to possess an unwavering spirit despite the odds.

A year after the world was stunned by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID19) pandemic, the institution marched on to mark its period of rediscovery.

Leading Through Progress and Change

Don Tomas Mapúa, the country’s first registered architect, established Mapúa Institute of Technology in 1925. It started facilitating classes with only 15 college instructors and 75 students in its pioneer programs architecture and civil engineering.

Barely four years since it opened its doors, the school demonstrated its caliber after its graduates began topping civil engineering licensure exams, and even snaring an average passing rate of 92 percent.

From then on, Mapúa Institute of Technology had been recognized for producing graduates that topped licensure examinations, be it in civil engineering, electrical engineering, electronics engineering, mechanical engineering, or mining engineering. In fact, its architecture and planning students dominated the top 14 spots in the architecture board examination way back in 1960.

In the same year, Mapúa had already expanded its faculty to 336 instructors, assisting 15,713 students.

Enhancing its capability to produce highly competitive graduates, it began adapting to technological advancements in 1963, becoming the first educational institution in Southeast Asia to acquire an electronic digital computer – the IBM 650. This later on pronounced the use of computers for administrative and management operations of Mapúa.

In 1999, the Yuchengco Group of Companies (YGC), one of the biggest conglomerates in the Philippines headed by Ambassador Alfonso T. Yuchengco, has taken the university under its wing. This enabled a series of major developments for the institute including the pioneering of a Quarter System in the Philippines and its physical expansion through an extension campus in Makati City.

Mapúa’s top-notch coaching to high school students resumed after it opened Malayan High School of Science in Pandacan, Manila. Then, it brought its renowned education closer to students in Southern Luzon with the founding of Malayan Colleges Laguna, which also provides engineering, maritime, and technological programs.

The Yuchengco-led academic institution started setting the pace for the country’s education system when it became the first to adopt Outcomes-Based Education (OBE). OBE is a competency-based learning standard that has now become the main thrust of higher education institutions in the country.

“In 2006, Mapúa adopted the OBE ahead of all other schools as an effort to continuously meet the globalized standard of education. The OBE framework is a learner-centered approach that outlines the principles and expectations of the institution for our students and faculty members to abide by,” Mapúa president and chief executive officer Dr. Reynaldo B. Vea said.

Paving Paths to Success

Through expanding and evolving its education, Mapúa continuously reaped recognitions and achievements.

Mapúa became the first school in Southeast Asia to have programs accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (ABET-EAC), specifically computer engineering, electrical engineering, and electronics engineering.

The ABET accreditation signifies that Mapúa’s accredited programs meet the quality standards needed to produce graduates prepared to enter the global workforce.

Today, Mapúa’s ABET-accredited programs grew to 14 undergraduate programs in engineering and information technology (IT), the most number of ABET-accredited programs in a single campus in the Philippines.

In the local education landscape, Mapúa currently has the most number of engineering programs with the Center of Excellence (COE) status from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). It became evident in its impressive number of 374 topnotchers across board examinations administered by the Professional Regulation Commission since the year 2000.

On May 18, 2017, CHED granted Mapúa its university status, turning Mapúa Institute of Technology into Mapúa University.

In the same year, Mapúa was awarded an overall rating of three stars for excellence by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). The University has received a five-star rating for three major categories: employability, social responsibility, and facilities. It has also earned four stars in the inclusiveness and teaching categories.

“Since the implementation of OBE, local and international accolades for the University have soared, including the accreditations received from ABET’s engineering and computing accreditation commissions, PTC-ACBET, and PICAB, the QS ratings and ranking, recognitions for our online education efforts, and the Times Higher Education rankings,” Vea said.

The University continued to reap international recognitions. In 2019, Mapúa has been ranked as one of the top universities in Asia by QS. For its social and economic impact, it has also been included in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ranking in the first ever Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings, placing 301+ for the SDG Partnership for the Goals. Also in the same year, its Civil Engineering program has been recognized by United Kingdom’s Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). With this recognition, Mapúa’s civil engineering graduates will no longer need to apply for an academic assessment to gain an ICE professional qualification.

In 2020, the pandemic has not slowed Mapúa in reaping successes internationally. Once again, it has entered the global Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings 2020, ranking in five Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 6–Clean Water and Sanitation; SDG 7–Affordable and Clean Energy; SDG 8–Decent Work and Economic Growth; SDG 12–Responsible Consumption and Production; and SDG 17–Partnership for the Goals. Overall, Mapúa placed 601+ out of 766 participating institutions worldwide.

It capped the year by moving up from being a 3-Star to a 4-Star institution under the QS Intelligence Unit’s (QSIU) QS Stars Rating System.

Rising Above the Challenges

Recognizing but not yielding to difficulties, Mapúa consistently finds opportunities in each road block.

In 2017, the university was able to proactively shape up its technological capabilities with the use of digital learning tools. It established Digital Days where simultaneous online lectures were delivered to about 2,300 students in around 100 classes within a single timeslot.

This allowed uninterrupted learning despite class suspensions due to typhoons, floods, and traffic-causing events such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and the annual traslacion of the Black Nazarene.

And even in the face of the pandemic, the university remained unfazed, as these challenges only brought out the best of the Mapúa community.

“Our content must be up to date and always accessible, delivered in a convenient manner that allows our students to consume them fast and effectively. We continuously improve, innovate, and evolve to assure learning continuity despite disruption and events that can alter our way of life. By moving forward with the times, we are not only beating the odds but are also empowering our students not only to thrive despite the future but to even shape the future into something better for all,” Vea underscored.

Using the digital learning tools and the experience it obtained in conducting online education, the University was able to smoothly transition the students to remote learning while providing the necessary assistance when they started adapting to the new normal set-up.

“We did not foresee the pandemic, but our concern for continuity in learning in general made us better prepared than everyone else when COVID-19 rendered face-to-face classes impossible. Our commitment to our learners is to ensure that learning continues for them,” Vea said.

With the full mastery of providing online education, Mapúa University launched last year its six CHED-approved fully online bachelor’s degree programs in computer engineering, electrical engineering, electronics engineering, industrial engineering, computer science, and information technology.

Mapúa is the first school that has been authorized by CHED to offer fully online bachelor’s degree programs.

“We have explored the potential of digital education several years ago, and we have beefed up our capabilities in online learning through faculty training and acquisition of tools that will facilitate remote learning. And even with our new experiences, our passion to continuously improve our work remains the same. Our commitment enables us to look far ahead into the future and to be on the lookout for possibilities that we can harness. Our commitment is to always be prepared to serve our purpose as an academic institution,” the Mapúa president added.

Providing Future-Ready education

As Mapúa University continues to navigate the uncertainties of the future, Vea shared the university’s commitment to keeping a close watch on the best practices in the education sector both locally and internationally.

“We will keep our curriculum current, our facilities up to date, our educational technologies and associated pedagogies at the leading edge, and our talent continuously upskilled. This way, we will not be shocked by the future. We shall see to it that the future does not happen to us, but that we happen together with it,” said Vea as he bared his plans for the university moving forward.

“As one may wish, the past and coming decades of Mapúa may be viewed as a continuum of excellence and leadership.”