Philippine Society. Politics. Rants. Critiques.

MSU-IIT to IITNU Part 1: Are We Ready For IIT Separation?

| Saturday, September 11, 2010
The first time I heard of this MSU-IIT separation issue was when I was a freshman five years ago. It was the House Bill No. 658 then, authored by then Representative Tikbong Badelles. For quite sometime now, various bills were introduced that aimed for IIT separation, a recurring scenario since the 90’s I was told.

Senate Bill 1966, HB 4912, HB 658, and the others that came out of the woodwork were heavily thwarted by militant student organizations, studentry and faculty members. Previous bills, such as HB 658, reveal that commercialization and privatization of the institution’s facilities, services, and grounds are bound to happen.

And with the rebirth of another bill submitted last July 31, I did not wonder why majority of the MSU-IIT people are quite hostile with regards to this new bill proposed by the representative of the new Iligan lone district, Varf Belmonte. This is obviously for the fear of soaring tuition fees, privatization issues, and the likes that daunted us in from the past bills.

This is a two-part article that tries to assess how ready IIT is to be separated from the MSU system. We will try to ascertain what this new bill is about, by looking into the significant provisions of the bill.

I remember the newly-elected Rep. Belmonte mention about this IIT separation in his speech last June. Come to think of it, since we became a city a few years back up to now, the city doesn’t have its “own university”. In various cities all over the country, all of those have their own universities. With this trend, Iligan seemed to be an exception. From the year 1958 up to now, the city doesn’t have its “domestic” university.

For a little retrospection, MSU - Iligan Institute of Technology came into existence by virtue of Republic Act 5363 which aims to produce graduates who have expertise on technical skills and knowledge to serve the growing number of industrial companies in Iligan City and the surrounding regions.

MSU-IIT was the first external unit of the MSU system after the main campus’s creation in 1961.Often called as “The UP of the South”, MSU-IIT has been the choice of many Filipinos, especially those of poor but deserving Mindanaoans. Both of my parents, coming from impoverished families, finished their Civil Engineering Technology course three decades ago on this institution. All three of us (me, my sister, and my brother), also finished our degrees in Political Science at this prestigious university.

The school is definitely ready for possible changes, its numerous achievements speak for itself. MSU-IIT has been declared as regional and national Top Performing School by the Professional and Regulatory Commission in Licensure Exams in Electronics and Communications Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Metallurgical Engineering (For producing topnotchers, for 100 % passing percentage, or for higher percentage of passing than the national average).

We also had topnotchers in business administration courses, education, etc. Name it, we have it. Mylene Macumbal of MSU College of Law – Iligan Extension who ranked second in last year’s Bar Exams, was also a topnotcher in the CPA Exam at this university. I also remember Miss Irene Te, ranking second in the CPA exams a few years back. In 2008, The MSU-IIT College of Education ranked number one in the Philippines being the Top Performing School in the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) Board. IIT bested other education schools such as UP Diliman and St. Louis University in Category A with 10-99 examinees. In 2007, we ranked 2nd and 3rd in 2006. And who would not forget MSU-IIT’s debating stint two years ago? MSU-IIT defeated UST and UP in the televised Frankahan Debate Championships at ANC. We are currently the Top 2 Performing Nursing School in the Philippines with 96 out of 97 passers. Talk about underdogs, eh?

MSU-IIT has an effervescent research environment, too. There were a total of 65 researches: 17 were completed, 39 on-going, 9 newly started 6 big studies were actually funded. Research results and papers delivered by faculty members in national and international fora were published in national and international journals and monographs for wide dissemination.

We also have multitude of extension projects. One hundred thirty (130) extension projects were conducted by different Academic Units as well as by the Department of Extension in Iligan City and Lanao del Norte.

We are the only academic institution in the country with the most vibrant, nationally recognized, and successful SC Coop, the MSU-IIT Multi Purpose Cooperative, now with
11 branches, 28,000 members and half a billion peso-asset. We are the only one in the country whose in-house-developed IT applications (e.SMS) are used by other public and private colleges and universities.

MSU-IIT has a range of stellar institutional awards and recognitions. The institute has been working hand-in-hand with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for more than a decade now. IIT is the Center of Excellence in Mathematics, Biology and Chemistry; Center of Development in Physics and IT; Center of Excellence in Teacher Education; Best HEI Research Program for Region X (Biodiversity Research Program (BRP)); Center of Development for Excellence in Information and Communications Technology; Center of Development in Ceramic, Civil, Electrical, Electronics and Communications, Mechanical, and Metallurgical Engineering.

IIT has also been the Zonal Research Center for Regions XII, IX, ARMM. It is also the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Learning Hub for Northern Mindanao; Virtual Center for Technology Innovation - Microelectronics.

The University has these accreditations statuses from the Accrediting Agency for Chartered Colleges and Universities (AACCUP): Level II Re-accredited for all programs of the College of Arts and Social Sciences; Level II Re-accredited for College of Education (Secondary Teacher Education, Industrial Teacher Education, and Physical
Education) (Elementary Teacher Education Candidate Status); Level II Accreditation for Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering; Level I Accreditation (Candidate) for all other Engineering disciplines; Level I Accreditation for all programs in Business Administration.

In addition to that, MSU-IIT also is one of the four universities in the Philippines that has a Haribon Foundation Academic Center of Excellence in Biodiversity. The university is a member of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) and 2007 KAPATID Awardee.

For Mindanao peace and development, Institute of Peace and Development for Mindanao (IPDM) is the most effective and productive Peace Center in the entire MSU System and in the academic institutions of Mindanao. These accomplishments are simply, the indicators of the institution’s attainment of its vision and mission.

MSU-IIT has the largest concentration of doctoral and master’s degree holders in its faculty, more than any university or college in Mindanao. I remember my teacher, Dr. Hilton Aguja joking about IIT having the most doctoral degree holders in the worldper square kilometer. (IIT measures merely 14 hectares).

The university currently has a total of 557 members in its faculty as of 1st Sem., AY 2010-11 composed of (96 Doctoral degree holders, 304 Master’s degree holders, and 157 Bachelor’s degree holders). MSU-IIT offers total of 116 academic programs (10 Doctorate, 35 Master’s, 2 Graduate certificate, 47 Bachelor’s degree, and 22 Diploma).

According to the CHED Evaluation in 2003, IIT is the most qualified to be University among fourteen colleges/institutes applying for conversion. Come to think of it, MSU-IIT has long reached a level of accomplishments and development to deserve becoming a full-fledged and independent university.

Without a doubt, I strongly believe we are more than ready for any institutional reforms.

(Please click here for the Second Part of My Blog Entry on MSU-IIT Separation).