IT certification gets support from Asian countries

The PhilNITS IT Professional Exam certification is now recognized in seven Asian nations, including the Philippines. This was agreed upon by the countries during the IT Engineers’ Examination (ITEE) conference held in Japan recently.

Attended by delegates from Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Mongolia, Vietnam, and the Philippines, the ITEE conference, held in Yokohama, Japan, was organized to coordinate the implementation of the ITEE in Asia and to have mutual recognition for the exam in the seven countries.

“I proposed the idea of gathering the seven countries which are in mutual recognition with Japan Information Technology Engineers Examination centre (JITEC),” said Maricor Akol, president of the Philippine National IT Standards Foundation (PhilNITS) and chairperson of the newly-formed IT Professionals Examination Council (IPEC). “If each country gains mutual recognition not only with Japan but with the six other countries, it would be easier to promote the (ITEE) exam.”

Organized and sponsored by the Association of Overseas Technical Scholarship (AOTS) in Japan and JITEC, the conference brought together seven institutions from the seven countries to establish a common ITEE system and discuss the concerns and issues of each country and propose possible solutions for these.

The IPEC was formed to ensure that the ITEE examinations and qualifications are maintained at highest standards and credibility, said Akol. “I proposed forming the council as a permanent means to maintain concrete cooperation and proper implementation of the MOU among member countries,” she said. Akol has been with PhilNITS since its inception, when JITEC first proposed the ITEE to the Information Technology Foundation of the Phils. (ITFP) in 2001 and Akol was still ITFP president.

With the perseverance of a core group from ITFP, the JITSE (Japanese IT Standards Examination) Philippine Foundation, Inc. was officially formed as an independent body and registered with the Security and Exchange Commission as a non-stock, nonprofit organization responsible for conducting the ITEE exams.

The year 2004 saw the name JITSE Philippines changed to PhilNITS, after Akol proposed it to JITEC where the idea was warmly welcomed. “I had a few difficulties promoting the exam because there was a common misconception that taking the JITSE (being based on Japanese standards) would only qualify you for a job in Japan,” she said. With that, Akol also changed the name of the exam from ITEE to IT Professionals’ Examination because she observed that in the Philippines, unlike in Japan, IT Engineers are strictly those who graduate in engineering courses and is not used to refer to the rest of the IT professionals.

Aside from agreeing on the mutual recognition of each member’s certificate, the council also finalized and agreed on the following: common exam dates, common ITEE standards, common targets of 10,000 examinees in three years, and sharing of databases of questions. The council agreed to hold the exams on both the first Sundays of April and October, effective April 2006. While the questions for the April exams will still come from JITEC, Akol said that the council is also working on training qualified members for the board of examiners from each affiliate country, who will then meet in Japan and decide on the questions to give during the October exam. “Each member will give ten questions which the Board of Examiners will choose from,” said the PhilNITS president.

With this, PhilNITS also has the goal of coming up with its very own database of questions someday. “Who knows, eventually we may not have to depend on Japan, they may even depend on us (for exam questions),” said Akol.

Part of PhilNITS and the IPEC’s goal is also to form a formal board of examiners for each country out of a pool of certified professionals who would, with the guidance of JITEC, design the process flow and procedure for exam-making. Akol said that she is hoping to have around 15 to 20 members in PhilNITS’ board of examiners, which would come from the industry, the academe, and the government. In a recent meeting with CICT Commissioner Virgilio Pe

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