Wednesday, December 23, 2009

MCITE 2009

Delivered by Randy S. Gamboa, Ph.D. during the MCITE 2009 held on December 3, 2009 at the Holy Cross of Davao College.

CHED OIC-Director Edward S. Aquino, Dr. Iris M. Melliza, President, Holy Cross of Davao College, Sir Edwin Maranon, PSITE VP-Mindanao, Sir. Vic Calag, PSITE Regional President, Deans, fellow IT Educators, guests, ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

I’m indeed very happy as I speak before you today. And as I am looking at this venue, I can’t help but remember the first time that we conducted MCITE in 2002. Let’s relate a little about it.

It was in October 2002 when the PSITE National conducted the first National Conference on Information Technology Education or NCITE 2002 at the Lyceum University of the Philippines in Manila. It was then the baby project of the PSITE National President Dr. Jimmy Caro of the University of the Philippines. I was the PSITE Regional president that time. I was very fortunate to have attended the conference not only because I learned a lot but because I gained new acquaintances, friends and connections. Several informative papers were presented from the educators themselves, from IT experts and consultants. Among the participants were not only educators but those in the administration side, legislators and executives from all sectors. I made use of the time attending the sessions and going around, talking to people and learning from them. Indeed it was full-packed menu of knowledge and network. However, it was sad to note that from Mindanao, there were only three of us. Much as I wanted to share what I gained from the conference, I can’t do it. How I wish I can but I cannot. I learned when I came back that the main reasons for the low turnout of participants from Mindanao were the expensive transportation cost and high registration fees. And these are also among the reasons why we in Mindanao are most often than not left out or left behind in terms of new technology and knowledge. Then I asked myself, “How can I make a little difference in the professional lives of the IT Educators in Mindanao.”

Inspired by the success of the NCITE, I came up with the idea of holding a similar event in Mindanao. This is to enable members from this island to be able to gain the knowledge that the people in the north has gained. As they say, if we can’t go to the mountains, let the mountains come to us. Hence, three months after that, the first MCITE was conducted. It was held at the University of Immaculate Conception. We made it very simple but full packed with inputs from known and distinguished speakers from all over the country. Some speakers were also the ones who presented during the NCITE. We were able to invite several sponsors and supporters. With this, the registration fee is more affordable and because of proximity of the venue, the transportation cost was low.

Considered as the biggest IT event in Mindanao, it was attended by about 200 IT educators and 1,500 students. It was supported by CHED, UPITTC and PSITE National. Also, with the help, or I should say, influence of Mr. Edwin Maranon, who was then the PSITE VP-Mindanao, the city government passed a resolution declaring the first week of December as the Information Technology Week.

And because of its success and from the clamor of the members, the MCITE has become an annual event. And this is now the 7th MCITE under the leadership of Mr. Vic Calag.

I was the Regional President until early 2008. After that, I was elected in the PSITE National as Vice President for Mindanao. And because it was Mindanao’s turn to host the PSITE National this year, I was appointed as the convention chair. Having been hosting and organizing several MCITEs, I noted some areas for improvement not only in the MCITE but also in the National Convention. I instituted some changes particularly in the program for the convention. This was implemented in the PSITE National Convention at the Zanorte Convention Center in Dipolog City. The members and officers maybe were so impressed by the positive feedback of the conduct of the convention and the effect of the changes made that they nominated and elected me as National President. I will be part of the history of PSITE having been elected as National President outside of Luzon.

As President, I improved on the direction of PSITE and continued some of its good programs. We set the direction which I coined as PReParE. P is for Professionalism, Re for research, Par for Partnership and E for Education. So it’s Professionalism, Research, Partnership and Education. At this point, activities of all regions are geared towards the attainment of the PReParE direction. This convention attempts to attain all the four directions of PSITE National, most specially the research part. The quality of research papers improved because it passes rigid screening. Those who have good research papers now have a venue to present. Those who do not have research papers then were encouraged to make one. Besides, it has now become a requirement of the CHED that for one to earn their master’s degree, he or she should be able to present a research paper. I am encouraging you to make and present your research papers.

Why am I relating this to you? Information technology is a fast changing technology. The IT educators in the country need to be updated. They need to prepare studies not only enhancing their capabilities but also meeting requirements of their respective institutions and the CHED. The IT educators in the country need to relate with other IT educators. They need to be within a network where there is sharing of experience and knowledge. There are still a lot more things to do with so little time and very few people working on it. We would be happier if each of us will do our own share for the development of the IT educators. A well developed, updated and well-trained IT educator is in a better position to mold our IT students into a better professionals in the future. And this is my challenge to you. In my own little way, I am trying to make a difference in IT Education in the country. You can do it too.

I wish you a fruitful, enlightening, and enjoyable convention. The organizers lined up interesting topics. Learn from it. During breaks, don’t just sit there and talk among your co-teachers or your co-employees. I encourage you to go around and connect with others. Learn from their experiences. Be happy and enjoy the moments with them. This is a good start to make a difference. As Dalai Lama said, “I believe that individuals can make a difference in society. Since periods of change such as the present one come so rarely in human history, it is up to each of us to make the best use of our time to help create a happier world.” And US President Barrack Obama said, “Make a difference in your life by making a difference in the lives of others”. Hand in hand, I am confident that we can make a difference. Good morning.