New campus opens in Cebu, offers niche, industry-demand courses

A MAKATI-BASED technology and design school has opened its newest campus in Cebu to offer specialized programs that meet industry demands.

iACADEMY Cebu is located at the fifth floor of

Filinvest Cebu Cyberzone Tower 2, Salinas Drive corner W. Geonzon St., Barangay Lahug, Cebu City.

The school, known for its strong industry partnership that delivers 96 percent job placement rate, will initially offer software engineering, game development, real estate management, animation and multimedia arts in its Cebu campus.

It currently has four classrooms, a multi-purpose hall, a Cintiq lab, multimedia arts lab, a Green Room and a student lounge.

“We’ve started the inevitable. To expand is the only way to bring non-traditional, specialized education closer to every aspiring tech and creative, and we couldn’t think of a better place for the first campus outside Makati but Cebu - it is rapidly progressing and we join them in their pursuit to make it the next tech and creative hub,” said Raquel Perez Wong, chief operating officer of iACADEMY.

Wong said iACADEMY is similar to a tertiary school but it offers niche or specialized courses. Its tuition per semester costs at least P60,000.

“We have grown exponentially from the mere one floor in Ayala Ave. building to the 11-floor iACADEMY Plaza building and now to our very own iACADEMY Nexus Campus that houses 2,500 students or as what we call them, Game Changers. This is the kind of success that we intend to bring to Cebu,” she added.

iACADEMY initially relocated its 15 to 20 Makati teachers to jumpstart its Cebu campus operations. Wong announced that they will be hiring local teachers who will be trained by them.

“We are on a hiring spree now. There are lots of open positions,” she said. “A lot of our faculty from Manila will be living here for two years but we intend to hire locally and train them.”

iACADEMY is known for its industry-aligned curriculum and professors.

Mitch Andaya, vice president for Academic Affairs for Cebu Campus, said locating the campus nearer where industry players are or in Central Business Districts will allow them to produce graduates that meet industry standards and address the ongoing skills mismatch.

“It is part of our strategy to invite industry professionals to teach our students,” Andaya said, who is a former dean of La Salle University. “We see this as one way to address this longstanding skills’ mismatch problem.”

iACADEMY was founded in 2002 to “reinvent” education. In 2009, the school was designated as the first IBM Center of Excellence in the Association of Southeast Asian region.

It also became the first educational institution partner of the Department of Tourism in 2019. It developed a mobile application that houses the travel website of the Philippines, augmented reality promotional materials, films featuring the provinces and the Philippines’ first social distancing app called “Maze.”

Wong said Cebu holds a promising spot for growth for iACADEMY, especially since it’s part of Unesco’s Creative Cities Network.

“It was so easy for us to pick Cebu as our next location. In fact, we are one in helping Cebu make itself as a tech and creative hub. We hope that in the next two to three years we will have more floors here or have our own building here,” she said.

iACADEMY Cebu can host a total of 500 students. Wong said they expect at least 200 enrollees this opening of the academic year.

Cebu City Vice Mayor Raymond Garcia and Councilor Donaldo “Dondon” Hontiveros welcomed the entry of iACADEMY in Cebu. Garcia noted that the school’s expansion came timely, especially now that Cebu is pushing to become the creative capital in the Philippines. (KOC)