PHILIPPINES. Makati: The technological school iAcademy was awarded the Most Innovative Education Provider honor. It is the only educational institution in the Philippines to win the prestigious award. iAcademy, along with Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and other top-notch schools were also honored.
Vanessa Tanco, the President and CEO of iAcademy, considers the technological school a game-changer in local education, and now globally. She said, “We feel super ecstatic for winning a prestigious and global award.”
She added, “We come up with new things for the technological school and a ton of hard work. Then, we got an invitation to join and gave it a shot. The award surprised us and made us happy.”
Innovation starts with a game-changing goal
Students from most schools graduate unprepared to work in the tech industry. Therefore, the goal is to bridge that gap between academe and industry. The technological school addresses this gap by working closely with corporate partners.
Tanco said, “The technological school stands in Makati, the business district of the Philippines. We align our courses with the industry. We create a close relationship with different corporate partners.”
The technological school gives its students the opportunity to hear from industry practitioners as teachers and faculty members. Then the students get a six to eight month internship program directly with the companies to get practical experience. Many companies hire their student-interns directly.
Tanco added, “Our school runs a lot of courses and is specialized. We invite corporate partners quarterly for a school dialogue to help us improve curriculum. We develop extracurricular activities to strengthen our students’ skills and better prepare them for the workplace. As a result, our technological school has a 96% job placement rate.”
Responding to the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic forced 865 private schools to close in the Philippines, including a century-old school. However, iAcademy continues to stand as an award-winning technological school.
About their success in a difficult time, Tanco said, “I think we got the award for the most innovative school because we responded and prepared for the pandemic. It required a lot of effort and there were many challenges to shift online. Yet, our technological school quickly made the shift.”
The faculty members shifted online with their Learning Management System (LMS). Aware of the effect of online learning, the professors of the technological school developed Guided Online Autonomous Learning (GOAL).
A student can learn with the professor and other students online (synchronous learning) and learn on their own (asynchronous learning). The school provides both synchronous and asynchronous learning, along with workshops and webinars to keep both students and parents informed.
Tanco added, “We want to create more jobs, help small communities grow, and be self-sufficient in this pandemic. Therefore, the technological school reaches out to corporate partners to offer jobs to our students who need financial support.”
Several corporations collaborate with iAcademy for different projects and programs. There are partnerships with IBM, Alibaba, Wacom, Toon Boom, and many more. iAcademy continues to look for strong partnerships.
The school earned many firsts. They developed the Philippine’s first social distancing app (MAZE), they were the first educational partner of Price Waterhouse Cooper, designated the first IBM Center of Excellence in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) regions, and more. Their programs and courses aligned with their partners to provide real opportunities in the Philippines.
Their programs aid the students to get certified with their partners. Students in animation can get certification from Toon Boom. Certification for Wacom stylus and tablet devices are also available. New courses are always being planned, such as sound and design production.
While many schools failed during the pandemic, those institutes that were nimble and created partnerships managed not only to survive, but to thrive. iAcademy is an example of just such a school.
An independent photojournalist of the Philippines capturing life as it passes by. He contributes to different news outlet and press publications.