Sustaining Technical Education in the Age of Globalization
By Selfa J. Briones and Andrea Bagares
Aware that the quality of human resources is necessary in the age of information technology, both private and public colleges and universities sustain their programs to produce globally competitive graduates. Labor Secretary Laguesma said in a TV interview (January 9, 2001) the employment should be sustained despite the crisis. This challenges technical educational institutions to make their programs responsive to the needs of the times and to maintain the university of technology education. These institutions should produce graduates to manage the deteriorating industries to propel the economy to progress. Santos (2000, p.50) emphasized the compelling need for an excellent technical education in the 21st Century.
Objectives of the Study
This study determines the employability of technician graduates of TUP-Taguig in terms of job readiness, job relevance, and competitiveness. This research answers the following questions: 1) To what extent do globalization-ready factors facilitate learning? 2) To what extent do the respondents perceive the following factors? 2.1) Industry-related 2.2) School-related; 2.3) Student-related; and 3) What is the employability level of technician graduates of TUP-Taguig?
The following variables predict the employability of technician graduates: job readiness, job relevance, and competitiveness.
Review of Related Literature
The Age of Globalization
Mazarr (2000) emphasizes the vital role of human interaction. This emerges from globalization, world trade, communications and media whose activities span the globe, stimulate world-wide awareness and stir emergence of a global consumer culture. Evidence of this process is overwhelming, at least in the economic realm (p.90).
Technology, as a driving force of change, creates new forms of competition overnight. Tucker (p.39) stresses that it is only one of the boosting methods. In preparation for the 21st century, the Philippines has welcomed globalization, liberalization, and deregulation (Santos, 2000, p.80). Santos stresses that big corporations will only hire excellent graduates. This compels educational institutions to deliver quality education.
The Linkage between Industry and School
Montefrio (1988) states that linkage is a real working relationship where technical-vocational education is not only the concern of the school but also the employer’s (p.56). He believes that linkages could be effective of industry leaders join the school board of trustees.
School-related factors are important in education. Manzano (1992) states that a sound and an effectives system of education needs financial and human resources (p.87). Pada (1991, p.60) emphasizes that faculty and staff development should cope with the fast changing technologies including facility development (p.68). He also cites that the faculty of technical programs should be experienced technicians who are pedagogically trained continuously. Banez (1994, p.58) stresses the need for objectivity in hiring faculty based on their specialization and experience. Villegas (1994, p.79) found that the more competent a faculty member, the easier it is for the graduates to find jobs. Nawagan (1992, p.99), on the other hand, found out that productivity and employability of graduates are influenced by the teaching experience and educational attainment of teachers and the adequacy of facilities.
Information Technology Integration
The use of computers in problem solving is increasing rapidly (Erickson and Hall, 1995, p.28). Thus, computers are used widely in education. Accordingly, Burns and Bozeman (cited by Dick, 1992, p.75) claim that mathematics programs supplemented with computer-implemented drills and practice exercises are more effective than using only traditional means Cheah, Ko, and Teo (1999) contend that the effective learning of science generally involves the need to visualize the various scientific concepts to understand (p. 100)
Employability of Graduates
The goal of education is to produce quality graduates. Vinluan (TUP Research Abstract, 1988-93) revealed the following: 51% of the employed respondents are regular employees in private firms; the absorption of the graduates vary. The OJT and the work attitude of the graduates surfaced as the major factors of their employment.
Salvador (1995) found that interest and performance in the major subjects are significantly related with their employability (p.98). Estrabo (1996) claimed that graduates with high level work attitude and achievement motivation have the highest percentage of employment (p.90). Aberin (1994), on the other hand, averred that students services, laboratory facilities and the school attended significantly affect employability.
Another study concluded that faculty competence is a major factor in employability. In another study, to determine employability, Cabancia (1992) used relevance of training with job hunting time as an indicator.
Definition of Terms
Curriculum refers to the lateral integration of school-based subjects to meet the qualifications demanded by industry.
Factors to facilitate learning refers to the adoptive change through integration of information technology to facilitate learning, and the acquisition of materials for evaluation to cope with changing needs.
Industry-TUP-Taguig Linkage is the agreement between the industry and TUP-Taguig administration to provide students on the job/supervised training for 28 hours.
Integration of Information Technology is the important adaptive change to facilitate learning.
Sustainability of technician education is the ability of the TUP-Taguig technician education under the TUP-Taguig linkage to maintain a high job readiness and relevance, and the advantage among graduates.
Sustaining factor refers to the industry, school and student-related factors to maintain technician education.
Being descriptive, the study used three groups of respondents: 150 technician graduates of TUP-Taguig, 20 personnel of the industry partners, and 10 faculty coordinators. Means were computed to describe the variables. Regression analysis determined the predictors of employability of technician graduates in terms of job readiness, job relevance and competitive advantage.
Summary of Findings
The three groups of respondents considered information technology a vital tool in education. They perceived that IT tools should be fully integrated in the technician education curriculum to cope with the global trend of education. The respondents also believed that through IT tools, like the internet and other computer-aided programs, an institution can achieve its goals Santos (2000, p 92) emphasizes that the ultimate evaluator of quality education is the market. Organizations and corporations will hire excellent graduates.
The industry related factors obtained a mean of 3.57. The 4.01 overall mean proves that the technician graduates who have full industry exposure are more employable.
The School-Related Factors
The school has met the qualifications demanded by industry with the overall mean of 3.79. The teaching quality with an overall mean of 3.46 is satisfactory. Mastery of the subject matter of the technician education specialists obtained a very satisfactory rating of 3.74.
The Student-Related Factors
The overall mean of 3.80 proves that the technician graduates are conversant with the work. They have developed work values required by the job The technician education sustainability provided the graduates with high job readiness.
Predictors of Employability in Terms of: Job Readiness, Job Relevance, and Competitive Advantage
The predictive abilities of the model, the curriculum, teaching methods, and industry exposure are vital instruments in the job readiness. Industry exposure is the only predictor for job relevance. Acierto (1990) asserts that the OJT has influenced significantly the success of job search. On the other hand, the three predictors of competitive advantage are industry exposure, teaching methods, and technology use. Tucker (1998, p.88) contends that the use of technology provides a strategic edge (competitive advantage) and that technology has changed the business design work of a firm. Another factor for competitiveness is the methodology of the professor (Aberin, 1994, p.69)
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