Fast becoming the cyber hub of the North?
BAGUIO CITY (Sept. 26) — Computer schools here are fast becoming competitive compared to Manila-based counterparts producing world-class manpower, who usually land computer-related jobs here and abroad, government and private sector representatives disclosed in a media forum today.
The figures are not so high, especially in the hiring of call center agents, according to government statistics. The Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA) noted that after a thorough training for near-hire manpower in call centers, the trend showed a big leap from one percent to three percent in recent years to a high of not more than 50% last year. The target was 80%, according to TESDA’s Chief Regional Officer Marilyn Nesisito.
In promoting Baguio City as the cyber hub of the North, as part of the country’s cyber corridor, the private sector and government envision to produce world-class computer-literate manpower, through the improvement and development of cyber education, Nesisito said during the Kapihan sa Baguio Wednesday.
STI College’s Alex Buluran said computer schools in Baguio City have been sending graduates to Manila and overseas as programmers, website designers and other computer-related jobs. He did not provide exact figures and he was only referring to STI College graduates.
More students now into IT
According to Dr. Ramon Santiago, education program specialist of the Cordillera Commission of Higher Education (CHED), courses in information technology (IT) now ranks 4th in a list of top 20 disciplines, the first three are health, business and engineering.
TESDA records some 1,900 students throughout the Cordillera presently enrolled in computer courses. Besides Baguio City, provincial schools also offer computer courses, Nesisito said, citing two state universities and colleges in Ifugao and Apayao.
Nesisito said PC operations subjects have been embedded in degree programs, adding that these are usually included in the first year subjects of college students. She mentioned that the ladderized education program is also designed to give those who drop from school a better chance of landing an appropriate job.
The cool weather in the city contributes to the favorable conditions for computer-based courses. Buluran explained that in the lowlands one computer needs one more electric fan and the casing has to be opened to give the central processing unit enough cool air. “The next problem there is the accumulation of dust,” he said stressing the cost the maintain an air-conditioned computer school.
Visiting web-master from Hawaii Atty. Juny La Putt, said good weather is an advantage of Baguio City. “It is most suitable for learning,” he said. La Putt talked on the web-master’s role in the design and development of a website among 300 Mass Communications and IT students on Tuesday.
La Putt said he is amazed with the development in the Internet access for Cordillera residents. He said he lives in a US paperless society where almost every transaction may be done on-line.
A personal computer is not required in a computer course, a representative of a private computer college here, told the press but Santiago admits, school compliance with 1:1 requirements is not easy.
Two CHED Memoranda spell out the minimum requirements for computer schools, according to Santiago. These requirements include the one computer to one student ratio. He disclosed however, that 35:40 may be tolerated, although, there are schools who could not comply.
“In cases of non-compliance with the minimum requirements, schools are given an initial permit for the first year, and if they still fail, in the succeeding years, there has to be a gradual phase-out of the computer course,” Santiago said.
Buluran said a computer student may avail of facilities in school laboratories. “They could learn in the laboratories and there is no need for a student to acquire his/her own personal computer,” he said encouraging even those who could not afford to buy a computer to enroll.
Higher educational institutions (HEI) which offer computer courses in Baguio City are among the best, Santiago said, but he singled out the University of the Cordilleras, which he said was conferred the CHED Center of Excellence in cyber education recently. The Super region cyber corridor which extends from the North to the South, Nesisito clarified. # Lyn V. Ramo for NORDIS