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Changing the face of education


The world is in constant evolution. To remain static amidst the tides of change is to pass on a death sentence. In these times when everything moves in a rapid scale, one cannot afford to be left behind by firmly adhering to the past. Today, it is no longer enough to remain in the �now� but discover new possibilities and impossibilities. Challenging the present patterns are these pioneer educational institutions who have bravely changed the face of the field of education.

 Perception is everything. With today's society placing so much importance on appearances, cosmetic and beauty product sales have skyrocketed in the last few years. In fact, a recent study revealed that it is the second highest dollar earning industry in the Asia Pacific Region.  Cognizant of its still untapped potentials, Centro Escolar University launched in 2001 the Bachelor in Science in Cosmetic Science, a program that provides knowledge and skills-training in formulating cosmetics, toiletries, fragrances and other beauty products. 

 �This is a first in the Philippines. So far, there is only one university in the United States that offers such a specialty,� says Zenaida Austria, the Dean of the CEU School of Science.

 The program, which is strongly focused on the Sciences particularly in Applied Chemistry, was created in collaboration with the Philippine Society for Cosmetic Science (PSCS) as well as with a network of cosmetic companies in the country. 

 With subjects such as Product Formulations, students will learn to extract the essences of natural and herbal ingredients and combine these to create a line of products that they could use, even sell in the market. It is even possible for a student with proper research, to discover solutions to skin and beauty problems, maybe even an anti-aging cream.

 �This is entirely different from a cosmetology course, which is often what people mistake it for. The course teaches you more than the method of applying make-up or creating hairdos, it allows you to formulate your own products,� she stresses, saying that students could go into medicine as a dermatologist, a cosmetic microbiologist, work in cosmetic companies or even put up their own business. This school year, CEU will open its two-year Masters in Cosmetic Science program. This is intended for those who are already working in the industry and would like to further their education.
 More than just a �beauty course,� it also integrates into the program a couple of units in management and entrepreneurship, which could help students market their products. Education, as Dean Austria said, is not just teaching the theories but also helping the students make them a reality.

 Each hour is but only a minute in today's standards. In this world, where everyone is riding on an accelerated time frame, each movement of the hands of clock counts. 

 In a bid to defy time and revolutionize the face of law programs in the country, Far Eastern University (FEU) Institute of Law and the De La Salle University (DLSU) Graduate School of Business created the ultimate �dream team� through its five-year JD-MBA program. Combining Juris Doctor degree with a Masters in Business Administration, the program sets the industry standard, as it is the first to offer such a program that would respond to the increasing trend of lawyers consulted for business and economic issues.

 �This is perfect for students who wish to go into business and corporate law. If you are dreaming of becoming the next Ally Mcbeal and appearing in court, this is not for you. The course is geared towards a specialization in business and we want students who have their eye in that direction,� reveals FEU Institute of Law Dean Andres Bautista.

 As it is a dual course, graduates have more career flexibility, having a choice among business, law or combined. They could go into commercial banking, management consulting, venture capital formation. They could also serve as counsels in government agencies that regulate business or even engage in public service as business policy advisors.

 The FEU Institute of Law incidentally is one of the three institutions in the country that is offering the JD, enhanced Bachelor of Laws (LLB) program, which affords the students greater flexibility, allowing them to specialize in a particular field in law.

 �With the JD program, they need not take up subjects that they would not be needing in their practice. Students must therefore decide on where to focus early on,� he explains.

 With the campus situated at the RCBC Plaza in Makati and a class schedule that is easy to handle, the program is suited to the working student. Students would take up all law subjects in the first year and then switch to all business subjects in the second year. Business and law subjects are combined in the remaining years. An apprenticeship program in top law firms and corporations was also integrated into the curriculum to give the students a taste of the real working environment.

  In constant evolution and development, the institution plans to link with schools and organizations abroad, to give the students a bit of the international perspective, providing them with the opportunity to compare and contrast the legal systems of other countries.

 With such a promising future, industry leaders have expressed their eagerness to see the fresh batch of talents that the institution would produce. As DTI secretary Cesar Purisima mentioned, he is eagerly awaiting their graduates, as the creation of the program is the best thing that ever happened to the industry. And why not when they can enjoy the best of both worlds.

 Artistry and passion make for an unbeatable team but without the right tool to channel those creative energies and �all over the place� emotions, the potential for greatness could be lost. 

 Believing in the talent of the Filipinos, College of Saint Benilde (CSB), through the vision of Brother Andrew Gonzales, envisaged an institution that would cater to and enhance different intelligences. CSB, according to Rose Marie Bautista, Dean of the School of Design and Arts, wanted to offer students courses that would develop their talents as well as provide an avenue for them to have fun while nourishing their abilities to its fullest potentials.

 �Though it is difficult and quite risky to offer such courses because of the perception that these courses such as theater production or fashion design do not have that many job opportunities, we believe that it would work out. Students that are not interested in the subject do not pay attention. They do not work hard enough. When you love what you are doing, things are different. Enthusiasm, creativity comes in. A lot of opportunities would eventually follow,� she mentions. Manolet Garcia, chair for Production Design, Theater and Dance agrees saying that as long as one is deeply passionate with one's work, excellence comes in and excellence will always be appreciated.
 Virtual reality applications, 3-D computer animation and simulation, digital video characters and the World Wide Web have no doubt changed the way people communicate and interact with others. With the introduction of these cutting edge technologies, the Filipino youth have recognized the implications of these modern multimedia techniques to their everyday lives, spreading its tentacles into such diverse fields as education, engineering, arts, entertainment, communication and even scientific research.

 In an effort to guide the students as they ride the waves of modern technological changes, CSB offered a four-year program that would prepare them for an evolving work environment that is dominated by multimedia technology. The Multimedia Arts (MMA) program, which is now enjoying tremendous success, combines new areas such as digital media and the Internet with core skills such as programming, communications and graphic design. Much different from mass communication or broadcast communication courses, Jag Garcia, vice-chair of MMA, explains that MMA takes core subjects and adds on computer technology.

 �Mass Comm courses for example would teach you to make movies. Here in MMA, we teach you to make movie magic,� he cites.

 But even with the computer component, one must not see it as a computer course. Garcia relates, �MMA is foremost an arts and design course. We only use the computer as a tool to execute what our creative minds have conjured up. While other multimedia arts programs that have cropped up center on the technical side, we put an emphasis on the artistry.� 

 Though the tuition fee can be expensive, the program boasts a 1:1 computer to student ratio and a complete set of facilities that includes 25 digital video cameras, 30 still cameras, a 3D animation studio, a 2D animation laboratory, editing rooms, sound and video production studios and the latest multimedia software and hardware.

 The program have also put up a production house that would offer multimedia services in the market using the talents of their best students. This, according to Garcia, will expose the students to actual work environment as well as provide an additional income. He hopes that this new endeavor �would be something that all students would aspire to be part of.�

  This would certainly serve them in good stead as they seek opportunities in TV, movies, radio or newspaper. Graduates can get into virtually anything that the traditional mass comm. graduates could get into plus some extras such as web page design, 3D animation, CAD specialist, CD-ROM interface design, Computer Illustrator, Interactive games and presentation design, virtual reality, computer animation and illustration. 
 With their flair for color and texture, eye for details and innate creativity and independence of thought, Filipinos have proven time and time again that they can go side by side with the best designers in the world.

 In a bid to further hone these extraordinary gifts and at the same develop marketing and merchandising skills that would introduce their creations not only in the local market but also in the fashion capitals in the world, CSB opened for the first time a fashion degree program that incorporates a full range of business administration units.

 �It's more than the process of creating beautiful apparels but also making them a commodity,� says Garcia.

 An 11-trimester program, Fashion Design and Merchandising focuses on design development fundamentals as well as actual production and product marketing. Course content includes fashion illustration, fabric design, history of fashion, pattern cutting and sewing, clothing technology, life drawing, production marketing, and management. Graduates can look forward to careers in fashion and merchandising. And because of its emphasis on entrepreneurship, they could even put up a business of their own.

 The first and the only degree program in the country, Technical Theater seeks to develop in the students an expertise in the technical aspects of production on stage, film, television, and in advertising. 

 Offering a balanced curriculum of theoretical and practical training in design and operational applications of technology used in these productions, students would undergo extensive on-the-job training and practicum work as well as study the different theories and principles that have served as the life blood of each theater production such as script analysis, production management, computer-aided design, props construction, and facade drafting.

 �As opposed to performing or designing, students are trained to develop skills in handling the physical facilities of the theater,� Garcia notes.

 By the end of the 10-trimester term, students will learn the rudiments of audio and video production, lighting and stage mechanics and translate all these basics into a powerhouse production. Job opportunities include technical and lighting directors for various theater, film, TV and advertising companies; audio and video operations heads; and technical consultants for post-production houses involved in editing, dubbing and special effects.

 Another 10-trimester course, Production Design teaches students the basics of stage and set design, from conceptualization to actual construction of sets and stages. 

 A broad range of subjects including theater design, theater history and management, script analysis, production practices, and other theoretical exercises is offered together with hands-on training in stage construction techniques, props-making, prosthetics, costume and make-up, honing students' skills in sketching, drafting and drawing. And because the course is more practical than theoretical, extensive on-the-job training is emphasized as a means of reinforcing knowledge in the field and the application of acquired skills.

 Though it may not be one of the traditional courses, graduates could look forward to careers in production design, art direction, set dressing, wardrobe, costumes and props handling, prosthetics, window and display dressing, and special effects.

 �There is a niche market for our graduates. The demand might not be that big but the training we provide gives them an edge over others,� Garcia points out.

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