by Zarina Isla-Villadolid, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

The integration of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) has indubitably altered the academic landscape. As one of the premier universities of the country, MSU-IIT has ardently answered the call to internationalize education and bolster global competitiveness.

In cognizance of the need for a systematic and sustained effort for the improvement of the quality of education, the Institute organized the Academic Summit in June last year to collectively address emerging concerns.  

Discussions are currently underway for the conduct of another summit before the end of the first quarter of 2016 in order to come up with more concrete plans for the future of the Institute in the context of the AEC.

But as CHED International Affairs Staff Director Lily Freida M. Milla emphasized during the news briefing leading to the annual European Higher Education Fair (EHEF) in November 2015, internationalization is not the goal. It is but an input to quality. As such, MSU-IIT is helping to ensure the quality of employment for Filipinos, not just adding to the quantity.

“We need to produce specific skills and qualifications that are not only demand-driven but also meeting professional standards,” says School of Graduate Studies (SGS) Dean Dr. Alita T. Roxas.

She adds that there is a need for graduates to be better prepared for the massive employment opportunities the ASEAN Integration is expected to bring about.

To strengthen its academic programs and its faculty profile, the Institute has employed multi-faceted strategies. Aside from revising curricula to align with the standards of Outcomes-Based Education (OBE), the possibility of offering new interdisciplinary programs is being explored. Colleges are likewise benchmarking their programs against those of top ASEAN universities and, at the same time, establishing linkages through collaborative research and student exchange. A number of Visiting Professors have also been invited to handle special courses and collaborate on research.

To facilitate student and faculty mobility, the Institute spearheaded the move to synchronize the academic calendar of the MSU System with partner universities in the ASEAN, beginning AY 2015-2016.

MSU-IIT has also undertaken measures to cultivate a culture of research. These include the establishment of the Premier Research Institute of Science and Mathematics (PRISM), increased incentives for research and publication, grant of support for paper presentations, and the regular conduct of scientific forums and research colloquia.