Dr. Irvin G. Generalao (left), Southern Philippines Agri-Business and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology president, congratulates Engr. Ryan Art M. Tuling for topping the agricultural engineering board examination during a victory party thrown by SPAMAST for its board passers in its Digos City satellite campus recently.
DIGOS CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 17, 2012) - A student from the Southern Philippines Agri-Business and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology (SPAMAST) has placed 2nd in the board examination for Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering graduates putting his alma mater in the country’s league of top performing schools in agri-engineering.
The 20-year old Engineer Ryan Art M. Tuling, is among the 293 board passers out of the 530 agri-engineering graduates who took the examination in August. His average score of 81.70% is only one point shy of getting the top rank.
Tuling, the 3rd and only boy in the four children of Mario and Carmelita Tuling of Sulop in Davao del Sur province, has not shown any signs of academic excellence in his elementary and high school years according to his father.
“Wala jud na siya’y honor kadtong elementary ug high school pa s’ya. Pero kabalo me nga maayo ang iyang pag-eskwela sa SPAMAST (Our son has never received any academic recognition in elementary and high school. What I know is he is doing well in college)," he said.
When the news broke out that his son placed second in the board, he said they were shocked. “Dili jud me makatoo (We can’t believe that he did top the board exam),” said his proud father. "We are so proud of him.”\
BOARD EXAMINATION PREPARATIONS
Tuling graduated in April this year and spent his vacation scribbling mathematical formulas in his reviewer. “Naga-review nako ug mga formula maski wala pa ko nisulod sa review center (I have been doing my own exercises and review of formulas even before enrolling to an accredited review center)”, he said.
Following the summer, he enrolled in a review center at the Mindanao State University in General Santos City for two months. There he indulged himself with intensive exercises on mathematical formulas, equations and engineering theories.
Tuling said that even before the board exam, the pressure whether to pass or top the board is already mounting. He revealed that his department has been teasing him to vie for top one.
“I received a lot of encouragements from my mentors and friends at SPAMAST,” he said, adding that he was really not sure if he can meet their expectations.
Tuling said that the last time the state college has produced an agricultural engineering board top-notcher was in 2008. “A SPAMAST graduate has already raised the bar placing third in the board,” he said.
He added topping the board seemed elusive for him but he still would want to try his best shot- this time for either 1st or 2nd.
“All the sleepless nights and my anxiety paid off,” he said, adding that he is elated by the fact that he has given his parents so much joy and that SPAMAST has regained its reputation for producing quality graduates in agri-engineering.
SPAMAST has recently thrown a victory party for him and his fellow board passers at its satellite campus here. He also received P10,000 cash incentive for topping the board from the School Administration.
FIRST JOB OFFER
Asked about where he plans to work now that he is a licensed engineer, Tuling said he would be glad to teach at SPAMAST.
“I think it’s time to return the favor,” he said, adding that Dr. Irvin Generalao, SPAMAST president, has offered him a post in the agricultural engineering department of the state-funded tertiary school.
Although teaching is really not his forte, Tuling said he has already turned down a job offer from a private company in order to pursue his career as college instructor for a start.
DWINDLING NUMBER OF AGRI STUDENTS IN COLLEGE
Agriculture and agri-business will remain the primary growth driver for Mindanao’s economy in the next twenty years according to the Mindanao 2020 Peace and Development Framework Plan, the island-region’s peace and development roadmap for 2011-2030.
The Plan also noted that in order to sustain the islan-region’s growing economy, Mindanao would need enough supply of manpower. However, the number of high school graduates enrolling agriculture-related courses in tertiary education is seen dwindling over the years.
Studies show that Filipinos dislike farming in general labelling it as menial and humiliating chore. For his part, Tuling said that a lot of high school graduates have no idea about the courses in agriculture.
“When it comes to engineering, they only know about civil, mechanical and electronics and communications”, he said, adding there are many agricultural companies in Mindanao who can offer good pay- something he said “not known to many.”
“Agriculture doesn’t look enticing for most of the high school students,” but Tuling said he wants to change that notion by building a good career in this field.
In 2008, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development launched the program “Enhancing the Demand for Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resources Graduates through Science and Technology” where SPAMAST took an active participation.
“We see to it that our programs cater to the demand of the entire AFNR industry not just in Mindanao but for the rest of the country,” said Generalao.
He said that their AFNR programs are geared towards honing and producing highly competent, development-oriented and globally competitive individuals.
“This is evident in the recent board exam for agricultural engineering,” he said, pointing out that aside from a SPAMAST graduate landing second in the board, the school was also able to surpass the national passing average of 47.7% by three notches.
He encouraged incoming college students to consider enrolling a course in AFNR and see for themselves the vast opportunity that await them in the future. “And they can also consider enrolling at SPAMAST too where tuition fees are affordable and students are assured of quality education,” Generalo said.
Aside from Agricultural Engineering, SPAMAST also offers Bachelors of Science in Agri-Business, Agricultural Technology, Agro-forestry and Agri-business management among others. Its main campus is located in Malita, Davao del Sur with satellite campuses in Digos City; Kapatagan also in Digos City; Sulop, Davao del Sur; and Buhangin in Davao City.