Mapúa is ready for ASEAN integration; puts prime in research and academics

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Mapúa’s new state-of-the-art research building will house various research laboratories and the Innovation and Technology Support Office, which will be responsible for giving strategic direction to the Institute’s research and development.

With the world-class education it offers, Mapúa Institute of Technology has expressed confidence in the upcoming Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community.

President and chief executive officer (CEO) Dr. Reynaldo B. Vea asserted that Mapúa is well positioned for the integration, as its curriculum has long been envisioned to aid Mapúans to move to other ASEAN countries as professionals and to prepare the school to accept international students.

“Mapúa endeavors to impart an education that is at par with international standards. We have always wanted to give education that will enable students to adapt easily to fast-changing times and fast-changing needs of employment in the 21st century,” said Dr. Vea.

The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which is coming up later this year, marks the start of free trade among the organization’s 10 member-states, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. It envisions free flow of goods, services, skilled labor, and capital and investments.

Although the AEC poses economic growth, the expected spur in job opportunities makes global competitiveness a more pressing requirement, especially in the field of education.

“We believe that the country needs a lot of highly trained technologists, engineers, and scientists, and a lot of research and development (R&D) centers to be able to compete in the global arena. As the economic competition intensifies, we need to level up our R&D skills. That is where we see ourselves playing a direct role,” Dr. Vea stated.

Among Mapúa’s strategic initiatives to keep up with the demands of the integration is bolstering its research capabilities and students’ math and science and technology proficiency. On top of ABET accreditation for 10 of its programs, it has put a prime in research and academic and local partnerships.

The Institute recently opened a new research building, which houses laboratories, researchers’ rooms, and a large working area. This state-of-the-art facility is also home to the Innovation and Technology Support Office, which will be responsible for giving strategic direction to the Institute’s R&D and to convert outputs into patents, designs, utility models, and even spinoff companies.

In terms of industry-academe linkages, Mapúa doubles its efforts to forge more partnerships intended to give students and professors a better understanding of what companies need and access to the latest technology and equipment.

To expose its engineering students to different technologies and processes employed in other Asian countries, Mapúa initiated international plant visits to Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.

Likewise, it has strongly promoted international on-the-job trainings and student exchange programs. To date, over 100 students have been sent over to various universities and partner institutions abroad since the internationalization programs started in 2010.

With such initiatives, Mapúa programs are certified to be at par with those of international colleges and universities and to have met global industry standards. Consequently, students gain equal footing with their foreign counterparts in the global arena.

According to Dr. Vea, Filipino professionals have always been globally competitive, but the challenge now for future professionals is not just to be qualified but to be the best qualified for the job.

“Strengthening industry-academe linkages and R&D will improve students and professors’ research and design capabilities. To boost this, what we need to do is launch a massive science and technology manpower-building program in science high schools and higher education institutions,” Dr. Vea concluded.