Tech Executive Qualifies Standards of IT and Computer Science Education in Mindanao, Urges Private Sector to Participate in Educational Reform Initiatives

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MANILA, Philippines - "There is a huge demand for skilled IT professionals from the country, especially from offshore. More and more IT work, especially software development, is moving from India, Eastern Europe and China to the Philippines because of the growing reputation of Filipino IT professionals for quality, dedication and professionalism. However, we are increasingly challenged to meet this demand because the vast majority of colleges and universities offering IT-related courses are no longer meeting even the minimum standards of IT education set by CHED", said Calen Legaspi, CEO of a local software development firm. Legaspi has been championing educational reform in fields of Information Technology and Computer Science, a cause which involves active participation of the company he co-founded, Orange & Bronze Software Labs (O&B). O&B, as part of its corporate social responsibility program, has been organizing or participating in programs that support the Philippine academe since 2007. The Filipino software development firm provides free training and seminars to teachers, usually through partnerships with government and non-government organizations and industry groups, as well as other programs aimed at enhancing the knowledge and skills of educators. Legaspi believes that "the private sector needs to realize that it has a huge responsibility to the local IT community. It is important to facilitate mutual understanding of each other's strengths and challenges, because the future of their businesses relies heavily on the academe. These are the same people who will develop and mold their future workers, managers, and leaders." He also serves as the Technology Director for the Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA), a role that provides him more opportunities to implement changes -- changes that are essential to ensure that the Filipino software engineer is highly employable and able to compete against his overseas counterparts. His responsibilities in the PSIA include working with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) as the official representative of the Technical Committee on Computer Science. His most recent project with CHED is a sojourn to different universities and colleges in Mindanao, part of an initial series of school visits that will cover the whole country. There are currently a total of 1,200 schools offering IT-related degree programs in the Philippines, and CHED has visited less than 100 of these institutions in 2011. "The various assessment teams have only visited around 80 of these this year, but we are hoping to visit a much larger number in the coming years. …