How Pointwest Considers Enhancing IT Education Important

Mike Togle
October 6, 2016

Education is one of the focal points of Pointwest’s Corporate Social Responsibility program. The company believes that, in order to equip the Filipino IT specialist for the new economy, he or she must have the right skills.

Beyond the usual philanthropic undertakings,  Pointwest looks for any opportunity to create sustainable and significant programs in order to realign and bridge the gap between what is being taught in the Academe and the real-world industry practice. Ma. Cristina “Beng” Coronel, Pointwest  President and Capability Director of the Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA), recognizes the need for progressive industry-focused programs and partnerships to better prepare graduates as they join the IT arena. The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) identifies this need as well, thereby providing its full support to the company’s constructive intervention and flagship CSR project towards quality education, duly named “Pointwest’s Curriculum Enhancement and Faculty Engagement programs.”

The Participating Academe

Following an archetype program first used with the University of Baguio in 2011, Pointwest chose three state universities, (1) Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), (2) Batangas State University (BatStateU) and (3) Benguet State University (BSU); as its Partner Institutions for the Academe-Industry Partnership Program. A similar undertaking was also organized for the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in a collaborative effort of Pointwest’s Service Management and Shared Services Groups to provide prudent and effective contributions to the Filipino IT Sector.

Pointwest at Benguet State University

Specialists from Pointwest visit Benguet State University

Part of the strategic approach is to target the instructors and professors as key participants. It aims to reap a multiplier effect in addressing and narrowing the development gaps between the Academe and the Industry. This train-the-trainer type of engagement can  also inspire the faculty to teach with more confidence as they discover knowledge beyond the theories and the books, and learn from real-life industry experience.

A Memorandum of Agreement/Understanding was jointly signed by respective University Presidents, VPs for Academic Affairs, Deans and Program Coordinators, and Pointwest representatives to kick off the initiative. Pointwest was duly represented by Ms. Beng Coronel, Ms. Achie Jimenez (Academe-Industry Partnership Program Head), Ms. Veck Basinang (Chief Technology Officer), and Ms. Chona Ahorro (Human Capital Management Head for Global Operations).

On the Different Software Engineer Roles

An introductory step under this initiative is a conference  for the faculty and students on the roles that each plays in the IT Software Development Lifecycle. It aims to  create awareness and present various career paths outside the typical ‘software programming’ or ‘writing source codes’ jobs that students are naturally exposed to while in the university.

During the “A Day in the Life of a Software Engineer Series” seminar, the guest speakers introduced the varying roles and responsibilities that are less known to students and faculty alike.

Pointwest visits PUP MH Del Pilar

Next stop: PUP for the “A Day in the Life of a Software Engineer” program

The series emphasizes the importance of each role – Project Manager, Business Analyst, IT Architect, Software Developer, and Quality Assurance Engineer – in the lifecycle. Notably interesting is that, this encouraged Pointwesters to pay it forward by volunteering to go back to their respective alma mater as “Resource Speakers.”  They willingly shared their experience, insights and aspirations to both students and faculty, hoping to inspire and encourage everyone to push forward to a better life and career outside the school walls.

Next Steps: Reviewing the Curriculum

While progress has been made, and the academe-industry gap has been narrowed a bit, there are still things to do to further bridge this divide.

The next phase of the program calls for Curriculum Reviews where Pointwest will act as an industry advisor and provide insights for technical improvement. The partnership will also provide Faculty Immersion Programs where instructors can participate in internal company projects, develop usable applications for their respective universities, and/or teach in one of their elective subjects.

Pointwest UX with UST Faculty

Pointwest User Experience Team presents User Research methods to UST Faculty

Pointwest, being at the forefront of this endeavor, is committed to extending big efforts in providing stewardship to address the gaps between the academe and the industry. As vanguards of this program, it is with high hopes, that we will be welcoming more industry-ready IT graduates in the years to come.


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