Our Lady of Fatima University’s (OLFU) recently held an Academe-Industry Linkages Pathways (AILP) Board Meeting on Curriculum Review and Validation in Pasig, Metro Manila. With a mission to ensure its students successfully find gainful employment in the local and international setting, the event’s focus was how the university is and should be, “Inspired by Academic Vision, Fueled by Industry Innovation.”

The event was hosted by the College of Business & Accountancy (CBA) and the College of Hospitality and Institutional Management (CHIM) and was attended by highly-regarded executives from OLFU’s 30 partner-organizations. Industries were very well represented as executives came from the fields of business, accountancy, nutrition & dietetics, and tourism & hospitality. Also present were OLFU officials, as well as the faculty members of the CBA and CHIM.

Jesse Rebustillo and Andre Alip, Ad-Board Chairmen of the CBA and CHIM, respectively, set the agenda for the event. They saw a need to review and improve current curricula, making sure these are calibrated to industry needs and are aligned with developing strengths that are in demand in the global workplace. First, curricula were presented in the form of a prospectus. Second, academic needs were reviewed and validated. And third, revisions and improvements on the curricula were proposed. “There is a need for academe to catch up what with all the apps we have right now,” Rebustillo emphasized.

OLFU President, Dr. Caroline Marian S. Enriquez, echoed Rebustillo’s sentiments when she said the onus was to match industry expectations versus curriculum deliverables. “Now, more than ever, we see the important role of educational institutions in nation building. Yusuf in 2007 wrote that universities act as an important driver of economic development and can catch up through their role in education and technology absorption, adaptation and diffusion,” said Dr. Enriquez.

The need to adapt was echoed by several AILP board members. Joel L. Tan-Torres, Chairman of the Board of Accountancy, said that that OLFU must be able to keep up with the CHEd’s most recent enactment of three new accountancy programs.

Penny S. Bongato, Executive Director of the IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines, called out the need to “Develop an entrepreneurial mindset,” to keep in step with our global counterparts. China has overtaken the Philippines in the global BPO ranking. “The academe must step-up its efforts in mastering the latest developments in digital technology such as robotics, machine learning engines, python programming language, and more,” said Bongato.

There have been marked improvements in some industries, as Mae Gabales-Villanueva, Crewing Manager of Abojeb Company, expressed optimism. She notes that in the crewing industry, more Filipinos have been climbing the corporate ladder.

The AILP began with the mantra that “learning outcomes are to be dictated by the industry, and not the academe,” as reiterated by Dr. Ignacio C. Cordova Jr., College Dean for both the CBA and CHIM. The gap between acquired skills by education and the actual job skill requirements needs to be narrowed. This being the primary reason the AILP is “Inspired by Academic Vision, Fueled by Industry Innovation.”