Ateneo to offer hospitality management courses by 2015

MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo de Manila University is set to roll out by 2015 hospitality management courses under its new institute, the Ateneo-Le Cordon Bleu Institute.

“Our first degree offering, to be offered beginning SY 2015-16, will be our B.S. Restaurant Entrepreneurship program,” Dean Rudy Ang of Ateneo's John Gokongwei School of Management said in an e-mail to Rappler on Tuesday, November 3.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has in place a moratorium on programs related to hotel and restaurant management since identifying HRM as an oversubscribed course. CHED told Rappler it will "ask for more information" on Ateneo's plans since the university did not communicate with the Commission on this.

Ateneo signed on November 8 an agreement with Le Cordon Bleu, a world-renowned hospitality education institution, to establish the new institute. It will offer a broad range of courses in both the Loyola Heights and Rockwell campuses – from one-day certificate courses in culinary, to 4-year college degrees related to the hospitality industry.

The partnership was announced in an article dated December 2 posted on Ateneo's website.

No moratorium

Ang described the BS Restaurant Entrepreneurship program as a 4-year undergraduate degree "highly differentiated from the usual hotel and restaurant management programs currently available.” It is hoped to produce “high-impact entrepreneurs for the tourism sector.”

Ang said the standing 2010 CHED moratorium on establishing new programs on "oversubscribed" courses, including HRM, does not cover the initial offering. 

"It is an Entrepreneurship program, and not a Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM) program.... There is no moratorium on entrepreneurship programs; in fact, this is a sector that the national government is trying to encourage and to stimulate," he said in a separate e-mail to Rappler on Friday, December 6.

He continued: "I think most people will agree that our educational system is not producing enough entrepreneurs who can go out and create jobs for our countrymen, instead of going out and competing for the few jobs that are available  We hope to help remedy that situation."

In 2010, CHED issued Memorandum Order Number 32 which placed a moratorium on establishing new programs on 5 "oversubscribed" courses starting school year 2011-2012. (READ: 'Unpopular' courses: The road less traveled)

The moratorium covers the following programs under the Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM) course:

It applies to all public and private higher education institutions (HEIs), including those granted autonomous status by CHED. Ateneo, a private HEI, is identified by CHED as an autonomous institution

One of the basis of the moratorium is the proliferation of HEIs offering undergraduate and graduate programs in HRM, among 4 other courses. "If allowed to continue unabated, [it] would result to [the] deterioration of the quality of graduates," the memorandum said.

In addition, it also said there is a problem of mismatch currently being experienced by significant number of graduates from business administration, HRM, and nursing education courses, "indicating the worsening state of the programs."

On Thursday, December 5, CHED told Rappler that they will look into the matter. "CHED will call the attention of Ateneo and ask for more information on the proposed plans of the Institute since we have not received any communication from them regarding this matter."

'Strong regional demand'

Ang said the move to enter the field of hospitality management is one of the university's contributions in nation building.

“The tourism industry is a key sector in our national economic development program, and we feel that our partnership with the world-renowned Le Cordon Bleu will enable us to contribute meaningfully within a very short period of time to the growth of this sector.”

A statement from the website of the Le Cordon Bleu said the partnership is in response to “a strong regional demand for quality hotel and restaurant management training and education” in the Philippines.

The university will begin construction of a 600-sqm facility for the institute in the 1st quarter of 2014. 

Le Cordon Bleu, according to the Ateneo article, is present in more than 20 countries with 53 schools attended by 20,000 students of 70 nationalities every year. The institution offers courses in gastronomy, hospitality, and tourism “from initation to MBA level.” – Rappler.com

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.

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