Courses in demand: An advisory for incoming college students

CLASSES in the tertiary level for academic year (AY) 2017-2018 will start on June 5, 2017 or not later than June 26, 2017.

More or less 100,000 third year, fourth year and fifth year college students in the region are expected to be back to school during the opening.

Generally, there is no enrolment in the first year and second year levels except in those higher education institutions (HEIs) which opted to accept first year and second year college enrollees.

Basing on the AY 2016-2017 reports from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Business Education courses still will be the most popular courses in school followed by Teacher Education and Information Technology.

More than a fourth (28%) of the enrollees in AY 2016-2017 belongs to Business Education. Popular courses under Business Education discipline include Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management, Bachelor of Science in Tourism, Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management, Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and Bachelor of Science in Accounting Technology.

Courses under Teacher Education discipline are Bachelor of Elementary Education and Bachelor of Secondary Education.

Students are advised to take courses in demand in the next five (5) years. It is sad to note that in a developing country, like the Philippines, Engineering Education ranked low (rank #5) as to the number of enrollees, yielding about 8% of the total enrollees in the Region. Engineers are considered “builders of the nation” and play important role in the development of this country in general and this Region in particular.

Agriculture and Fisheries remained in the lower rank (rank #9) of all disciplines in higher education. This is a sad reality that served as a great challenge to our higher education institutions, especially the state colleges and universities (SUCs) offering agriculture and fisheries courses. This enrolment deficiency in agriculture and fisheries programs must be rectified before it is too late.

In this country, food supply and demand is affected by the continuing growth of population. This finding is supported by the country’s continuing import of agricultural products from the other countries. In this light, it is safe to say that food production through Agriculture and Fisheries is a good prospect to our incoming college freshmen.

Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) listed jobs that will be in-demand or that ensure employment in the Philippines in the next 5 years. Some of these courses identified are Veterinary Medicine; Business Agriculture and related fields; Information Technology; Hotel and Restaurant Management and related courses; Engineering courses; and Business courses.

These courses will continue to be in-demand as businesses grow and therefore always considered as the top college courses in the Philippines in the next 5 years. Furthermore, DOLE revealed the top 10 highest paying jobs in the Philippines. Some of these jobs include aircraft pilot/flight engineer, computer programmer, systems analyst/ systems designer, production supervisor/ general foreman, call center representative/ customer service associate, statistician, among others.

In the recent survey conducted in Europe, America, Asia and Oceania, in demand professions in the world are software engineers and developers, electronics engineers, mechanical engineers, nurses, doctors, civil engineers, electrical engineers, IT professionals, and Accountants.

This is a great challenge to our higher education institutions, especially the state colleges and universities to produce these professionals in demand to act against skills shortage in the country and abroad.

Higher education institutions should offer programs that are flexible and responsive to the dynamic changes occurring in the world economy. There is a need to proportion the kind and quantity of our graduates according to the needs of the industry. There is a need to increase the number of graduates that belong to the undersubscribed programs and reduce the number of graduates that belong to the oversubscribed programs.

Dialogues between the academe and various stakeholders should be institutionalized where the stakeholders are consulted and involved in the mapping out of competency roadmap to match the needs of the industries in terms of the required labor force. This is a great challenge to our labor, industry and education sectors and to our incoming college students.

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