Filipino electronics engineers seek to adopt global industry standards

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By Alexander Villafania

MAKATI CITY, METRO MANILA – To strengthen the country’s electronics engineering sector, leaders of the Institute of Electronics Engineers of the Philippines (IECEP) are  pushing to establish a professional system of standards in adapting electronics and communications.

These electronics engineering standards will set the guidelines in the installation of various electronics equipment in many industries, including manufacturing and construction.

The proposed standard will also have substantial effect on accreditation of professional electronics and communications engineers (ECE) in the Philippines, which will ensure that all Filipino ECEs are up to par with the current global capabilities.

During a meeting with journalists, IECEP Chairman and President Ornan Vicente said the basis of the ECE system of standards in the Philippines is the Washington Accord, an international agreement of academic institutions, organizations, and industries that sets the bar for accrediting all graduates of all engineering courses.

Vicente said that having these guidelines should help implement changes in the academic system in the Philippines, as well as to ensure professional quality among Filipino ECEs.

He added that the organization has been pushing for the establishment of a system of standards for ECEs in the Philippines through IECEP’s Philippine Technology Council (PTC).

“There’s an immediate need to ensure professional quality among ECEs by having a standard. This would result in proper implementation of electronics systems,” Vicente said.

Former IECEP chairman Romulo Agatep said that the organization would be applying for entry into the Washington Accord and would encourage the local adaptation of Accord’s requirements.

According to him, more than a dozen countries are already signatories, including Australia, the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, among others.

Several other countries have provisional status in the Accord, which include Bangladesh, Germany, India, Pakistan, Russia and Sri Lanka. The Philippines is not among the signatories of the Accord and has yet to apply for participation.

Agatep said that many ECE graduates in the Philippines fail to pass their board exam. In the ECE board exams conducted earlier this year, only about 1,500 out of 7,000 takers passed.

Agatep stressed that this dismal performance was due in part to outdated curriculum being offered in some of the engineering schools in the Philippines.

As such, the IECEP is calling for the government, particularly education bodies such as the Commission on Higher Education, to evaluate the capabilities of certain schools offering electronics and communications engineering courses.

For his part, Vicente said the organization is supporting the implementation of the Department of Education’s (DepED) K+12 strategy that adds two more years in basic education.

“This way, all the basic subjects would be completed at their level and that students entering college are able to focus on core subjects,” he said.

As part of the IECEP’s education campaign, the organization would be holding their annual International Electronics Conference & Exposition. Vicente said that the event should provide engineering students and graduates new information about the trends in various industries wherein ECEs are utilized.

Vicente said that Filipino engineers have to be updated in their skills to remain competitive. In particular, the information and communications technology (ICT) industry continues to grow exponentially and new products and services are being offered.

“ECEs will be needed in the ICT sector and the Philippines has to develop those skills to be able to accommodate these needs,” Vicente said.

The IECEI expo will be held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City from November 3 to 5.

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