A Tracer Study of Mass Communication Graduates of Centro Escolar University from School Years 1998-2008
Christopher Jay M. Cortado, Ph.D
This study traced the Mass Communication graduates of Centro Escolar University in terms of their employment. The graduates, both Broadcast and Journalism majors, belonged to the 1998-2008 batches.
Questionnaires were sent using two modes: e-mail and Facebook. E-mail addresses were obtained from typing the names of the graduates on the search engine of Facebook. If the e-mail information was available, the questionnaire with the cover letter was sent to them. On the other hand, the free surveymonkey application was used on Facebook to eventually make the questionnaire more public with its popularity nowadays.
A total of one hundred fifty (150) graduates responded to the tracer study which was conducted from May 2009-April 2010. The results of the study may not provide a general scenario but they surely provide a glimpse of where the Mass Communication graduates are at present.
The data reveal that a considerable number of the surveyed respondents are practitioners in media fields.While, the rest have conquered and excelled in other fields. This concretizes the notion that Communication Arts interfaces with all professions.
As students graduate from college, most of them believe that it is the diploma which is the only key to employment. The January 2010 estimated figures from the National Statistics Office (2010) showed the Philippines’ employment rate at 92.7%, unemployment rate at 7.3%, and underemployment rate at 19.7 %. With the new batch of graduates this year, these figures will surely change either for the better or for the worse. The figures are dependent on the kind of opportunities the new graduates have in relation to their fields. Boaduo (2009) explained that ‘education is the most important mechanism for the empowerment of people for their socio-economic, political and technological development’. It is for this reason that graduates should have the necessary knowledge and skills afforded to them by their respective educational institutions to make them competitive and eventually excel in their fields.
Communication Arts is such a vast field. All professions basically necessitate a kind of communication process which those in the communication fields could better explain and understand. The employment opportunities for Mass Communication graduates, both for Broadcast and Journalism, may also be as vast as how communication interfaces with other disciplines.
1. Literature Review
One way to evaluate a curriculum is via tracer studies.
According to Kumar (1991, as cited in Zainab, A. N., Edzan, N. N., & Rahman, S. S. A, 2004), tracer studies are recommended to be carried at least a year after students have graduated.
While, Loughbridge (1990, as cited in Zainab, A. N., Edzan, N. N., & Rahman, S. S. A, 2004) emphasized that in an ideal situation, the target graduates should not be too long on the job so as to achieve an effective tracer feedback since it is often difficult to remember courses taken up to 10 years previously.
Besides, reasons such as those who have changed addresses, changed jobs or gone overseas may make it difficult in tracing the graduates as explained by Zainab, A. N., Edzan, N. N., & Rahman, S. S. A. (2004) in their research. Furthermore, they said that a number of those located or reached were not willing to participate.
Curran & Greenwald (2006) emphasized that if graduates want an opportunity to get their feet in the door and prove themselves, they will have to redefine for their future employer what they have really learned after four years. Furthermore, they mentioned that there is no shortage of ways to demonstrate transferable skills through liberal arts education.
On the other hand, Camenson (2008) reiterated that
Today’s liberal arts majors learn a wide range of skills with just as wide a range of applications. A variety of studies, however, also show that the most important skill remains the ability to communicate effectively. The ideal communications specialist might actually be a generalist. With an understanding of how to penetrate public awareness, as well as mold and respond to public opinion, communications can be public relations. With the knowledge of how to reach and influence consumers, communications can be advertising or publicity and promotion. Through the techniques of writing and editing, communications can be journalism. With problem-solving and group-management skills, communications can be corporate troubleshooting or training. (p. 95)
With things becoming more uncertain in the Philippines, Moleke (2006) explained a similar phenomenon in South Africa. He observed that some of the South African graduates were voluntarily unemployed but majority of the graduates were involuntarily unemployed. Most of them who experienced periods of unemployment stated that they were unemployed because they could not find any kind of job. And a big bulk of these graduates were in the natural sciences, humanities and arts, and education.
Meanwhile, Wylie (2003) opined that
Graduates typically express open-mindedness and willingness to learn and try new ideas, that seasoned candidates sometimes have trouble with. They have an eagerness to prove themselves, which can spur an entire organization on to the next level. They are prepared for change, and embrace it, and are not jaded by past experiences in the industry as more seasoned professionals can be. Nor, are they set in the ways things should be done, as this is an entirely new experience for them. (p. 7)
Moreover, Wylie (2003) posited that the skills organizations look for in job apllicants, including recent college graduates, differ from position to position. He said that technical skills, or what some would call quantitative skills are a concern or must be viewed with concern. However, interpersonal skills (or qualititative skills) are of primary importance. And finally, communication skills, to round off the top three categories of what one should look for when recruiting graduates.
In his book Employment in a Globalizing and Liberalizing World, Khan (1997) explored the prospects of generating employment-friendly growth in the Philippines with the specific purpose of analyzing trends towards the globalization of the world economy, and the liberalization of the Philippine economy with emphasis on how they affect the problem of employment in the country and what policies need to be adopted to be able to cope with these problems.
Lim (2000) offered a definition of the underemployed in his paper which says, “Officially, the underemployed is defined as the employed people wanting more work” (p. 31).
The Department of Labor, Philippines (n.d.) cautioned that
Unemployment is demoralizing. To feel unwanted and not to be able to make any contribution to society lowers a man’s morale and makes him lose his self-respect. Ironically, unemployment is what plagues millions of people in the world today. It has hounded political leaderships out of power as it had acidly tested the mettle of the best development planners. Certainly, unemployment is present in any society, whatever its economic system and stage of development are. But its manifestations are no more precise and its effects more telling than on the poor developing nations. So much so that unemployment has emerged as the most striking system of under development. (p. 7)
Moreover, as indicated in the President’s 10 Point Legacy Program (2005), employment in the Philippines is largely labour-supply driven as persons who cannot find jobs in the formal market end up creating their own employment or looking for jobs overseas.
3. Research Rationale
Tracing where the Mass Communication graduates are is the foremost reason why this tracer study has been conducted. Also, this has been undertaken to find out if the graduates get to practice the professions they were prepared for or if not, what reasons do they have for not practicing their competencies. Moreover, the graduates are asked about their suggestions on how the Mass Communication curricula can further be improved with the aim of making each curriculum more responsive to the needs of the industry.
Based on the gathered data, the following findings are offered:
1. Profile of the Respondents
1.1 Age. Majority of the respondents are aged 25 years old.
1.2 Year of Graduation. Majority of the respondents graduated in 2006.
1.3 Gender. Majority of the respondents are female graduates.
1.4 Civil Status. Majority of the respondents are single.
1.5 Course. Majority of the respondents are Broadcast majors.
2. Employment Status of the Respondents Based on Their Years of Graduation in terms of Inclusive Years of Most Recent Employment, Media Network/ Company/ Firm Affiliated With, and Position/s Held
2.1 Inclusive Years of Most Recent Employment.
2.1.1 2008. Majority of the respondents inclusive years of most recent employment is from 2010-to present.
2.1.2 2007. Majority of the respondents inclusive years of most recent employment is from 2009-to present.
2.1.3 2006. Majority of the respondents inclusive years of most recent employment is from 2009-to present.
2.1.4 2005. Majority of the respondents inclusive years of most recent employment is from 2005-to present.
2.1.5 2004. Majority of the respondents inclusive years of most recent employment is both from 2005-to present and 2008-to present.
2.1.6 2003. Majority of the respondents inclusive years of most recent employment is from 2008-to present.
2.1.7 2002. The respondents inclusive years of most recent employment is both from 2002-to present and 2008-to present.
2.1.8 2001. Majority of the respondents inclusive years of most recent employment is both from 2007-to present and 2008-to present.
2.1.9 2000. Majority of the respondents inclusive years of most recent employment is from 2005-to present.
2.1.10 1999. The respondent’s inclusive years of most recent employment is from 2003-to present.
2.1.11 1998. Majority of the respondents inclusive years of most recent employment is both from 2002-to present and 2007-to present.
2.2 Media Network/ Company/ Firm Affiliated With.
2.2.1 2008. Majority of the respondents are with media-related affiliations specifically Solar Entertainment, Catalyxt Advertising Inc., GMA Network, ABS-CBN, TV 5, and DZXL.
2.2.2 2007. Majority of the respondents are with media-related affiliations specifically ABS-CBN, Greenbucks Media Solutions, Color Coding Production, and DZRJ.
2.2.3 2006. Majority of the respondents are with media-related affiliations specifically ABS-CBN, Aviator Advertising Media, CBS Radio, Graphic Design Company/ Transradio Broadcasting Corp., and Monster Radio RX.
2.2.4 2005. Majority of the respondents are with media-related affiliations specifically GMA Network/ QTV 11, Pixel Art Media/ NBN 4, ABS-CBN Interactive, TAPE Inc., IBC 13, and Director’s Board Film and Video Production.
2.2.5 2004. Majority of the respondents are with media-related affiliations specifically ABS-CBN, Original Pictures, and Venture Communications UAE.
2.2.6 2003. Majority of the respondents are with media-related affiliations specifically DWBL and ABS-CBN.
2.2.7 2002. The respondents are both affiliated with GMA Network Inc. and Bobbi Brown Cosmetics UAE.
2.2.8 2001. Majority of the respondents are with media-related affiliations specifically 91.5 Energy FM and FILMEX.
2.2.9 2000. All the respondents are with media-related affiliations specifically ABS-CBN Global, Solar Entertainment, and 93.9 iFM.
2.2.10 1999. The lone respondent is affiliated with 91.5 Energy FM.
2.2.11 1998. Majority of the respondents are with media-related affiliations specifically ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs and Media One UAE.
2.3 Position/s Held.
2.3.1 2008. Majority of the respondents are holding media-related positions specifically as researchers.
2.3.2 2007. Majority of the respondents are holding media-related positions specifically as production assistants.
2.3.3 2006. Majority of the respondents are holding media-related positions specifically as reporters/ anchors.
2.3.4 2005. Majority of the respondents are holding media-related positions specifically as segment producers.
2.3.5 2004. Majority of the respondents are managers/ supervisors in terms of positions held.
2.3.6 2003. Majority of the respondents are English Teachers/ Instructors in terms of positions held.
2.3.7 2002. The two respondents are artist/ talent and counter manger/ senior make-up artist, respectively in terms of positions held.
2.3.8 2001. Majority of the respondents are singers in terms of positions held.
2.3.9 2000. All the respondents have specific positions namely: producer/ project manager; editor; disc jockey, and pastor.
2.3.10 1999. The lone respondent is a senior announcer/ supervisor in terms of position held.
2.3.11 1998. All the respondents have specific positions namely: VTR editor; journalist; teacher; training officer; executive secretary; and HR assistant.
3. Reasons Given Why Jobs Are Not Media-Related
Majority of the respondents cited too much competition as the foremost reason why their jobs are not media-related.
4. Improvements Suggested in Making the CEU Mass Communication Program More Responsive to the Needs of the Industry
Majority of the respondents said that the conduct of more outside activities/ exposures is the foremost improvement suggested to make the program more responsive to the needs of the industry.
Based on the summary of findings, the research concludes that:
1. The Mass Communication graduates of Centro Escolar University are innovative, single, dynamic, and young professionals who are practitioners in the media field, as well as in other fields;
2. The Mass Communication graduates are employed, affiliated with media and other firms and companies, and holding media-related positions as well as other related positions in firms and companies;
3. A number of Mass Communication graduates of Centro Escolar University have valid reasons why their jobs are not media-related.
4. The Mass Communication Program of Centro Escolar University is planning, finding and implementing ways to improve its offerings to make them more responsive to the needs and requirements of the industry.
National Statistics Office. (2010). January 2010 Philippine labor force survey. Retrieved on March 30, 2010, from http://www.census.gov.ph/data/pressrelease/2010/lf1001tx.html
Boaduo, N. A. P. (2009). Tracer study as a paradigmfor the enhancement of quality course programmes development in higher education institutions in South Africa. Retrieved on March 15, 2010, from http://www.docstoc.com/docs/20394050/TRACER-STUDY-AS-A-PARADIGM-FOR-THE-ENHANCEMENT-OF-QUALITY-COURSE-PROGRAMMES-DEVELOPMENT-IN-HIGHER-EDUCATION-INSTITUTIONS-IN-SOUTH-AFRICA
Zainab, A. N., Edzan, N. N., & Rahman, S. S. A. (2004). Tracing graduates to ascertain curriculum relevance. Retrieved on March 28, 2010, from http://majlis.fsktm.um.edu.my/document.aspx?FileName=277.pdf
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