NEU in the Years Ahead* | Dr. Corazon C. Osorio, University President
Education is valued like a treasure by us, Filipinos. We believe it is the only legacy we can give to our children. And because of this, it is the parents’ responsibility to ensure that their children get the best possible education.
However, it is lamenting to note how our education system at NEU in general has tended to produce graduates whose primary ambition is to work for someone else, including foreigners, rather than to create jobs and generate employment. Simply put, our graduates just aspire to earn a salary than to create wealth.
Also, it is a fact that the number of Filipino families who do not have enough to meet their basic needs is increasing. Schools like NEU should continue with entrepreneurship as a backbone in fighting poverty.
Better technology, more entrepreneurship, and more national focus on socio-economic development issues can liberate Philippine society from age-old mass poverty and social inequity (Wilson Lee Flores, PDI May 31, 2010 I-3).
I call on the deans of the colleges to seriously introduce and implement in their curricula the subject on entrepreneurship and the College of Business Education and Administration to apply this as another major together with Human Resource Development Management. And while the CBEA dean prepares the curricula and the appropriate communication with the CHED about this, our Guidance & Counseling Director is hereby officially instructed to conduct before the end of this school year, 2010-2011 and beyond, meaningful jobs and trade fairs for our graduates.
EDUCATION AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Another task is laid upon education. It has to address so many complex problems of the world. It does so because humanity faces a profound emergency.
“Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it will endanger our prosperity and security.” (Copenhagen Summit, Dec. 17-18, 2009).
The big question now is, how little time we have got left, to limit or minimize the damage. Yet, it appears that the planet earth’s response has been feeble and half-hearted.
“The politicians in Copenhagen have the power to shape history’s judgment on this generation: one that saw a challenge and rose to it, or one so stupid that he saw calamity coming but did nothing to avert it.” (Ibid.)
To this challenge, NEU’s response is the first. In our own humble ways and capacity, let us take steps to check temperature rises. The Basic Education Department Principals will please mandate your students to plant one fruit tree on their every birthday. The older students will plant one fruit tree each annually as part of their community service. This is very simple, meaningful, and yet quantifiable action.
GLOBAL STANDARDS IN EDUCATION
People behind the world’s top universities in Europe will apply a uniform training and grading standards for higher education this year  which is expected to contribute to an improved global economy.
The Philippines was invited along for the crusade. NEU is a Philippine HEI. It has for its vision “a world-class institution of learning with a unique Christian culture of excellence, discipline, and service to humanity.”
This is an opportunity for NEU to seriously internationalize. Policymakers in Europe and around the world ensure that our HEIs and systems are ‘fit for purpose’ for the 21st century.
International partnerships are becoming increasingly important in the context of globalization. And NEU cannot run away from this emerging education scenario.
The European Union (EU) is enforcing a European Higher Education Area in 2010 based on an international accord among 46 European countries called the Bologna Declaration (or the Bologna Process). There are also such things as the Washington and Sydney Accords.
Asia is already developing its own education area initiative beginning with Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand – or the MIT which is a reflection of the Bologna process (Dr. Empachai Yavaprabhas, director of SEAMEO’s Regional Center for Higher Education Development).
Obviously the Philippines was not included in the pilot educational region because of its distance from the three countries.
In May 2009 some Engineer professors of NEU, together with myself oriented us with the features of Outcome Based Education (OBE), all necessary to keep track with the many quality provisions of the Washington Accord.
Also, I have instructed the team of Dean Engr. Michael Benavidez to study the adoption of the OBE in the CET to make our graduates globally competitive. To this effect, Prof. Rosanna Villapando, CS Faculty member, was permitted to train in the US in one of the phases of the OBE.
Establishing an Asian version of the Bologna process will take time – much, much more time for NEU. But among us, where workers believe faithfully in what GOD can do for HIS people, nothing is impossible. We only have to stay put, steadfastly.
With this as our North star it isn’t far behind to be one of the respected universities here and abroad. And then, be a part of the Times Higher Education Supplement, also known as THES for short. It is a London-based newspaper that reports specifically on issues related to higher education. The THES has been probably the best known for publishing the THES-OS World University Rankings in partnership with QS Quacquarelli Symonds LTD. (ref. http://www.thes.co.uk )
Along Basic Education, where do our Filipino students land? In international rankings of education systems, the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study [TIMSS] we have scored at best, fifth from the bottom and once landed rock bottom.
The TIMSS is an international assessment of the mathematics and science knowledge of fourth and eight-grader students around the world. TIMSS was developed by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) to allow participating nations to compare students’ educational achievements across borders [Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia].
In the local front – the NEU Basic Education has this to pledge: they will strengthen the mathematics and science competencies of our students by a more active-interactive math and science fairs. Research in their level and capacity shall be continuously engaged in by both the teachers and the students. Researches shall be as practical, sophisticated, and as both theoretical-empirical like “Decomposing Used Diapers for Use as an Alternative Organic Fertilizer” selected for presentation at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair [ISEF] this year. The proponent was a fourth year student of La Filipina National High School in Davao City.
The competition brings together students, teachers, corporate executives, and government officials from around the world in competition for over $4 million in scholarships, tuition grants, scientific equipment, and scientific trips. (PDI June 15, 2008)
EMPOWERING THE ACADEMIC HEADS
As University President, I have this belief – NEU at 35 is Spring Come Alive. It ushers in new hopes, new dreams, new beginnings, new ambitions. And at the core of these is LEADERSHIP.
A few of the yardsticks to determine the effectiveness of the Deans and the Principals starting 2010 shall be:
90% - 100% of your graduates should be passers of the entire program (HS/College) and (if there is any) the board/bar exams.
100% employment of the graduates (in the current SY)
50% of the FTs and the RFTs (for the SY) have conducted meaningful researches/have written referred articles and or books
90 – 100% of the faculty and the staff have very satisfactory attendance performance (less than 3 ATUs for the whole term)
All academic heads shall conduct annual research competitions aimed at giving recognition and incentives to students who excel in Math, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Computer Science, Biology and Environmental Science.
I urge all teachers to continue strengthening the desire in each of you to be a mentor who is global in mindset, in knowledge, and in exposure. Also, adopt a child/student – mindset.
Along with this is an urgent need of our system to focus on a more accurate identification of “who is the NEU graduate?” We have come up with this temporary statement pending final draft from the pool of evangelical workers and the Ministers of the Gospel headed by our Vice President, Bro. Alberto R. Domingo, “The NEU graduate is one who fears God and keeps His commandments as he prepares to face the world after his academic preparation. He provides for himself and his family by being gainfully employed or by being an employer. Wherever he goes, he brings light and joy in places of darkness and gloom. He strives to make his today better than his yesterday and his tomorrow better than his today. His love for his fellowmen is not limited to seeing them prosper in this life; he strives most of all to show them the way to eternal life”
Full credit for this goes to the Dean of the CAS, Dr. Pedrito R. Placio
Also, you may now adopt the main campus’ every-last-Friday of-the-month VARIETY SHOW. This is a one-hour informal presentation of our students’ talents. The venue needs not to be a formal one. It may be in the lobby or in the covered court, or in the canteen, or under the shade of the trees. This event shall be held between 12nn to 1pm only. No extensions. No class disruptions
Another standing event, the whole school year-round shall be SHARING TIME, an every last-Wednesday-of-the-month informal discussion of available faculty and staff to talk about a book/article/story/movie reported by one of them. The session is somewhat like coffee-table-discussion.
I hereby officially designated Dr. Remedios D. Fuentes for SHARING TIME.
TO ALL ERANS
In our capacities as mentors let us make the youth knowledgeable on how to make informed decisions on matters that will greatly impact on their future. Let the competencies of critical-reflective thinking, analysis, and sound reasoning be the guiding stars to the every question they will ask us and other adults.
I enjoin every mentor to be a Personality Development teacher. Help your students achieve maximum potential through confidence-building, communication proficiency, and image enhancement.
Inspiring mentors are neat and clean at the outset, physically. It signals your being serious of yourself and your career. These mentors listen, when others talk especially to students. They focus on their friends and associates. They make these people (not the cell phone or the computer) the center of their attention. They contribute much to the appropriate of the “NEU GRADUATE”.
*Speech of the University President during the Faculty & Staff General Assembly last June 18, 2010 in the event of NEU's 35th Emerald Anniversary]