About Me

When not at work with students, I spend my time in my room either reading, calculating something using pen and paper, or using a computer. I read almost anything: from the pornographic to the profound, although my main interests are mathematics and physics. "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." -Erasmus

Thursday, February 16, 2012

School Closures

I saw a tweet a few moments  ago from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) announcing the closure of International Academy of Management and Economics (IAME). I couldn't find the reasons for it, but I suspect noncompliance with CHED standards. It's reminds me of the closure of PMI Colleges, a maritime training school.

Since I couldn't find anything yet on IAME, I decided, out of curiosity, to follow-up on the PMI story. While looking it up, I chanced upon a blog of a PMI alumnus who actually agrees that the closure was long overdue. Now if an alumnus agrees that his school should be closed,  then there must be something seriously wrong.

CHED geting tough with standards compliance is actually a recent thing. CHEd has become aggressive on making sure that higher education institutions do meet international standards. In my field (Physics) Professors I know have been travelling around the country evaluating BSc Physics programs; from what I've heard, some of these programs are on the way to  shutdown because of the low quality of coursework they offer, the lack of competent faculty, and shortage of students.

If degree programs have been shutdown, then it's not unreasonable to expect shutdown of higher education institutions; a school, after all, should not offer courses it cannot teach. I know it will be painful for students of these substandard schools.  However, if the standards are unmet, and CHED allows schools to operate (the line of least resistance, which seemed to be the policy of the previous administration), then, in the end, it is the graduates who will suffer: because their degrees will only be treated as useless paper.

3 comments:

Tim said...

I think many 'accredited' CS and IT schools will suffer the same fate. It's alarming how many programmers holding CS degrees have no understanding of programming fundamentals.

The curriculum is mostly to blame, at least that's my observation as a software engineer that hires new programmers. They seem to teach more to get you hired quickly than actually covering the subject in meaningful depth.

Many graduate with a memorized list of common problems and the accompanying solutions, but very few can actually _solve_ problems.

I'm glad to see the proverbial screws being tightened, it's long overdue. Most of these 'schools' exist only to rip students off.

Mike said...

I've encountered a similar difficulty with engineering students. Although they're supposed to learn calculus with some depth (it's a three-term course), I've noticed that most students seem to memorize algorithms for evaluating derivatives and integrals without understanding the definitions that underlie calculus. At the end, their "knowledge" is so fragile that after these students pass board exams, they lose quite quickly what they've "learned".

A visiting physicist from industry that I've talked to was quite surprised at the half-life of what our students know. I think that's a generous assessment; I suspect that for the great majority of engineering graduates (including those who graduate from the "best" universities here), calculus was never learned at all.

Tim said...

If you have some idle time and want to enjoy a proverbial train wreck, take a look through some of these:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/homework

Two things are quite alarming here, the apathy of students as well as some very questionable assignments.

The same tag on our Physics site is a *little* better, but that is a much smaller community and they tend to get junk off the front page very quickly:

http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/homework

Finally, we have homework in maths, which is actually a much better collection:

http://math.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/homework

I think it's a question of the quality of the faculty, which directly points to how much they care about doing their job well.

NB, it isn't just the RP that has this issue. It's a growing problem all over Asia. Wherever you find those that want all of the privileges that money can buy, you'll find those privileges packaged in neat attainable boxes with a money back guarantee.