The Grey Chronicles


The Mis-education of Filipino Engineers, Part V

Trends in Engineering and IT

As early as 1999, the Commission of Higher Education [CHED] issued its Memorandum Order No. 09 s. 2000, in accordance with the pertinent provisions of Republic Act [RA] No. 7722, or the Higher Education Act of 1994, to identify, support and develop Centers of Excellence [COE] and Centers of Development [COD] for Engineering and Architecture Education throughout the country based on three criteria: instructional program quality (50%), research (25%) and community output (25%). Today, several COEs and CODs are scattered all over the Philippines. In addition, several other CHED memos were issued to assess engineering education vis-a-vis industry requirement [CMO 20, s. 1997], rationalizing Engineering Education [CMO 34 s. 2001; CMO 25 s. 2005], or specifying the basic Engineering curricula and facilities [CMO 49 s. 1997].

SY Enrollment in Engineering and IT-related Courses, 1998-2004

SY Enrollment in Engineering and IT-related Courses, 1998-2004

In terms of enrollment, beginning 2002, students are increasingly interested in IT-related courses than engineering. The numerals shown beside the bars are the percentages of the total enrollees per school year. The lines shown are the trend year-on-year.

IT-related enrollment, which does not require a Professional Regulations Commission [PRC] license, is growing at 9-10% each year. While engineering enrollment is declining from as high as 15.30% in SY 2001-02 of total enrollees to 14.57% in SY 2003-04.

Comparison of Engineering & Technology vs. IT-Related Graduates 1995-2002

Comparison of Engineering & Technology vs. IT-Related Graduates 1995-2002

Both engineering & technology and IT-related graduates are, almost parallel, rising. Thus, it can be concluded that although IT-graduates are increasing, so is engineering and technology. While engineering graduates have increased steadily over the years, there is a slight decline though beginning 2002 for IT-related courses.

It should be noted that although the average engineering passing rate at licensure examinations have risen over the years; statistics show that there is a declining trend in engineering passing rates beginning 2002.

Gonzalez (1999) characterizes the Philippine higher educational system as:

“All but a handful of our colleges and universities are teaching institutions with little or no research. . . Only 32% of our faculty have master’s degrees and only 4% have doctor’s degrees. . . [because] we have the shortest period (10 years) of pre-college training and hence our college students really belong to a senior high school in other systems, thus, the quality of our colleges and universities is inadequate and will not improve unless we can take care of the three items above. . .because college offerings are ruled by the market, some courses are oversubscribed, and some are undersubscribed.”

National Passing Percentage in Engineering Licensure Examinations, 1995-2004

National Passing Percentage in Engineering Licensure Examinations, 1995-2004

Fortunately though, in terms of Average National Passing Rates in board examinations, Electrical Engineering [EE] is gaining ground compared to Electronics and Communications Engineering [ECE]. In 1995, the passing rate for electrical engineers was at 35.36% and rose up to 44.05% by 2004. Meanwhile, ECE’s was very high at 52.41% in 1995 and slided to a 35.22% by 2004. Of the thirteen engineering licensure examinations given by the PRC, between 1991 to 2004, only Electronics & Communications, Geodetic, and Safety Engineering have a declining trends in average Percentage Passing rates. The decline can be attributed to lower intake of enrollees in these courses.

Distance Learning in the Philippines is limited to post baccalaureate level (Castañeda, 2007). While, e-Learning is still an emerging market and sporadicly used in the Philippines (Arimbuyutan,, 2007). In a Senate Economic Planning Office Policy Brief (2008), it asks:

“The Cyber Education Project [CEP] might help in improving the quality of education in the country’s public schools to the extent of upgrading learning standards, but with its cost and with all its uncertainties, is it really worth pursuing?” [Emphasis supplied.]

Santiago’s cross-border education study (2005) finds:

“In most Asian countries, the quality level of education had been low. However, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, and Malaysia have been serious about improving their education sector. . . the Philippines is not perceived to provide quality education and is therefore not considered a prime destination of foreign students. . . For the Philippines to be competitive in the education services sector, among others, what is needed is a strong political vision and the will to see the vision through.” [Emphasis supplied.]


Arimbuyutan, Reynato C.; Seoksoo Kim, Jae-gu Song, Wooyoung So (2007).. A Study on e-Learning for Philippines, Online: International Journal of Multimedia and Ubiquitous Engineering, 2:3, October 2007. p. 49-53. back to text

Castañeda, Catherine Q. (2007). Higher Education Quality Imperatives in the Philippines. Seminar on Knowledge for Development: Assessing the Capacity, Quality and Relevance of Universities in Asia Colombo, Sri Lanka, 25th of January. p. 11. back to text

Gonzalez, Andrew (1999). Graduate Studies in the Philippines: Past and Future. Online: International Forum, 2:2, October 1999. pp. 5-8. back to text

Santiago, Andrea L. (2005). Cross-Border Transactions in Higher Education: Philippine Competitiveness, Discussion Paper Series No. 2005-27. Makati: Philippine Institute for Development Studies, December 2005. pp. back to text

SEPO (2008). Revisiting the Cyber Education Project, Policy Brief: 08-02. Manila: Senate Economic Planning Office, May 2008. back to text

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