HISTORY

History

During Dr. Vea’s term, the NEC took the lead role in the Engineering Science Education Project (ESEP) funded by the Department of Science and Technology. Dr. Vea contends, “There were lots of projects going on at that time but the ESEP turned out to have more lasting consequences.” Through ESEP, funds were poured for faculty, library, laboratory facilities, infrastructure development in general, and graduate students’ scholarships for 19 ESEP schools which accounted for 50% enrolment of engineering schools. One of the project’s results was the formulation of the Peer Evaluation Process (PEP) instrument, a set of criteria to evaluate the engineering programs in the various areas in engineering education against which the progress of the ESEP schools could be gauged after the implementation of the project. Outside of the project, the Foundation for Engineering Education Development (FEED) was set up to conduct the evaluation.

 

According to Dr. Vea, “The FEED is now leading the effort for the Philippines to become a member of the Washington Accord, which is important for Filipino engineers to be able to become members of international registers of engineers.”

Photo of Lynnore C. Giron

Training Head, Continuing Engineering Education, 1991 to 1993

"The training seminars were overflowing with participants… My fond memories of NEC were the parties and the UP environment."

The NEC’s involvement with the ESEP illustrates the NEC’s national scope. As Dr. Vea puts it, “NEC was created not only for UP. NEC has a mandate for manpower development for the entire country. So it is important that the executive director continues to be active in the technical panel for engineering education. Because it is one manner where we were able to exert influence in the direction of manpower development for industry… We have concerns bigger than UP, and NEC is the appropriate instrument for that. While the Dean takes care of the concerns the College, (s)he also has to think about national concerns as far as engineering education and engineering practice are concerned. That was the way I looked at it. That’s the way I still look upon it as being the role of NEC.”

Photo of Reynaldo B. Vea, Ph.D. Executive Director, 1993 to 1997

It was also under Dr. Vea’s term that the NEC received its accreditation as a Training Institution in the area of ‘Engineering and Technical Courses’ from the Civil Service Commission.

"I enjoyed the Christmas parties at the quadrangle and working with people who were very enthusiastic about their jobs."

Into the 21st century

The last ten years of NEC were marked by significant involvement from the faculty of the COE. It was also during this period that the NEC progressed in terms of developing wide-ranging courses and trainings that cater not only to engineers but to non-engineers as well. All these accomplishments transpired not without challenges along the way.

In 1997, Prof. Edgardo G. Atanacio, took over the dual role of COE Dean and NEC Executive Director from Dr. Vea. This was considered a difficult period not only for the NEC but for the whole country as well, as the Asian region was then experiencing financial crisis. Many of the companies that send their employees to attend the center’s short courses and seminars were forced to take austerity measures. Enrollment in many of the short courses offered by the center went down. Dr. Aura C. Matias, who took over the post of Deputy Executive Director in 1996, had to oversee the day-to-day operations of the NEC, as well as creatively find ways to keep the center afloat. She managed this by implementing lecture series, instead of short courses, on pressing topics of the day, such as construction management and preventive maintenance.

"I enjoyed the Christmas parties held at the NEC grounds. You can see the camaraderie among the NEC & COE people."

Prof. Atanacio and Dr. Matias also faced the challenge of a lack of research initiative from within the COE faculty. “There were only a few faculty members that had the interest in research,” recounts Dr. Matias. “So our strategy at that time was to get big contracts, to get their feet wet. The projects were also mostly inter-disciplinary so we were able to tap into USAID and World Bank.”

Photo of Prof. Edgardo G. Atanacio Executive Director, 1997 to 2004

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