Engineering profs hone skills at Smart

KERUBIN Pangilinan has been teaching electronics and communications engineering (ECE) students at Polytechnic University of the Philippines for 11 years. While he's well-versed in subjects such as circuits and computer fundamentals, Pangilinan's knowledge of telecommunications was purely theoretical -- until recently.

Along with 22 engineering professors from several other schools, Pangilinan spent 10 days in various cell sites of Smart Communications to get hands-on training on the daily operations and maintenance of telecommunications equipment.

The faculty immersion activity is a component of the 14-year-old Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program (Sweep). Under Sweep, Smart partners with universities and colleges to improve engineering and information technology education in the country. So far, nearly 500 professors from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao have received on-the-job training from Smart engineers.

Pangilinan said the immersion was a great help to him as a professor. "I was able to configure and test instruments. The things that I learned only during review sessions for the board exams -- such as how cell sites function -- I was able to actually see. I also learned about the latest technology being used by Smart."

University of Santo Tomas faculty member Kanny Krizzy David-Serrano believed the training would help her become a more effective teacher. "It will be easier to teach because my explanations will be more in-depth. I will be able to give clearer examples because I had actual experience at the site."

Her colleague Rianna Camille Ventura said, "It's really different when you see the application of the concepts you've learned only from lectures. You can master theories and concepts, but it's different when you have hands-on experience with technology."

Smart public affairs senior manager Stephanie Orlino underscored the importance of teaching the teachers. "When you train professors, it's not only them who benefit. The impact is multiplied when they relay the knowledge to their students."

"Moreover, telecommunications technology evolves so quickly. It is critical for professors to keep themselves updated with these developments," Orlino added.

Aside from conducting the faculty immersion program, Smart also provides its 42 Sweep partner schools with up-to-date telecommunications equipment, seminars, and internships for students. It also holds an annual innovations competition for college students. Moreover, Smart sits in annual curriculum reviews to provide inputs on industry trends, helping schools ensure that their course offerings are relevant.

Because of Sweep, top international business magazine Fortune included Smart in its 2016 list of 50 companies around the world that are creating "important social impact."

Engineering professors in Sweep partner schools who wish to join the next faculty immersion may get in touch with their college deans. For more information on Sweep, like the Smart Sweep page on Facebook. (PR)

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