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Imperative in our tech-driven world

/ 01:30 AM November 14, 2015

The K-to-12 curriculum’s four distinct features are: 1) learner-centered and research-based; 2) inclusive, culture-responsive and -sensitive, integrative and contextualized, relevant and responsive; 3) standard- and competence-based, seamless and decongested; and 4) flexible, ICT (information and communications technology)-based and global.

Points 1 through 3 are time-honored education philosophy concepts. But Point 4 breaks new ground by recognizing that IT permeates everyday life.

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Having an education system that provides its learners with a strong IT foundation is very desirable, particularly for a developing country like ours. Despite their superficial grasp of the scope and nature of IT, most parents are aware that in our tech-driven world, a key factor in choosing a school for their children is its competence in IT education.

This sentiment cuts across economic strata, and parents are not wrong in aspiring for IT careers for their children. The IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines (Ibpap) projects that the IT and business process management (BPM) industry will grow even more in the next five years. Based on growth trends, it is highly likely that the IT BPM industry’s revenues will be at par with the remittances of overseas Filipino workers by 2017, according to Ibpap president and CEO Jose Mari P. Mercado.

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The contact centers will of course still have the highest demand for globally competent talent, but the subsectors of health information management and shared services are also registering higher numbers. The hiring push of shared services is for more finance and accounting graduates to handle business process tasks. Think of companies like Chevron, AIG, or Wells Fargo. On the other hand, health information management companies like UHG or Cognizant need more and more medical coders because healthcare clients in the United States shifted last Oct. 1 to the new International Classification for Diseases revision 10. There’s a lot of work available, and the pay is more than adequate. The job title may seem innocuous, but the competency requirements are rather high. A good medical background, like the kind nursing school graduates have, is a definite plus factor.

Meanwhile, the K-to-12 Law mandates senior high school for all schools in 2016. Most Department of Education schools will be pursuing the TVL (technical-vocational-livelihood) track, which has subjects like medical transcription, animation, computer programming and PC repair and maintenance in its IT strand. TVL also includes very popular tech-vocational subjects such as cookery, welding, dressmaking and beauty culture. But it is true that not all schools will be capable of offering IT education that meets global standards and competencies, Point 3 notwithstanding.

Non-DepEd schools, on the other hand, have been vigorously pursuing initiatives to boost their capability to deliver high-quality IT education, mainly because parents and students demand it. For the past few weeks I had the chance to meet with officials of these schools, after an organization simply named Computer Assisted Learning (CAL Inc.) invited the Ibpap to talk about how the IT BPM industry has been leveraging K-to-12 for global competitiveness.

CAL is an international brand with over 18 years of service and is “at the forefront of providing revolutionary ICT education programs and technology services,” according to its assistant vice president Jo Manalad and brand manager Flo Antolin. They said CAL, “along with more than 100 of our private and public partner-schools, responds to the dynamic trends of technology and education.”

Its vision is “to uplift the education system through the use of ICT, provide quality, world-class and job-enabling knowledge and skills in ICT, and bridge the skills and knowledge gaps globally and locally,” Antolin also said.

CAL brings ICT knowledge and skills to schools, educators, and learners through programs like Edict (education in ICT), which is designed to develop and reinforce ICT skills of young learners from preschool to high school levels, and Tassel (technology-assisted and enhanced learning), a set of interactive teaching and learning tools for K-to-12 math and science, in partnership with AmazingEdu, an award-winning educational content developer.

CAL also has a CIP (computer integration program), an upgrade package for the school’s computer laboratory that enhances traditional learning in math, English and science.

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Leo Riingen, a gifted IT professional, organized CAL in 2006 as a computer school for beginners. Not much later, it became an education solutions provider of IT to primary, secondary and tertiary schools. It now provides IT education curriculum to over 300 schools with a total of 300,000 students.

Riingen is perhaps more known for putting up Informatics Philippines in 1994, when he was in his late twenties. Led by the organization of 500 people in 18 locations, Informatics schools have trained over 450,000 students in various IT courses.

Last August, CAL completed its Cyberlabs project in partnership with the Taguig government for the city’s 34 public schools. Its IT programs in Cyberlabs include web design, personal computer operations, hardware troubleshooting, computer programming, digital arts, animation, Photoshop, graphics design, web programming and digital moviemaking.

Butch Hernandez ([email protected]) is the executive director of the Eggie Apostol Foundation and education lead for talent development at the IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines.

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TAGS: education, IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines, K to 12
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