Intel, association push digital literacy program

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

NOTING the importance of digital literacy to economic growth, Intel Philippines has partnered with a national organization of technical and vocational schools to widen the reach of its digital literacy program.

Intel Philippines announced their partnership with the Technical Vocational Schools and Associations of the Philippines, Inc. (Tevsaphil) yesterday, as they hope the organization’s over a million graduates can complete the Intel Easy Steps program.

Intel Philippines’ corporate affairs manager Yvonne Garcia Flores explained that the Intel Steps program, a curriculum of 14 modules covering the use of different technology, will be incorporated into the technical and vocational courses that the Tevsaphil schools are offering. These, she said, will be for practical uses of their courses. As an example, she said those taking up culinary courses will be taught to use technology to make inventories and costing while those taking other skills training programs will be taught to use basic computer applications like word processing, spreadsheets, multimedia and web-based applications.

Because of technology, Flores said they can reach even more people and make them digitally literate and even more employable.

Flores cited studies showing the impact of a high digital literacy rate to economic growth, saying a 10 percent increase in broadband penetration adds 1.3 percent to the gross domestic product of high income countries and 1.2 percent in low and middle income countries.

Developing countries in the Philippines, she added, are the largest supplier of low-skilled workers. “We have to work towards developing the low-skilled workers into high-skilled workers,” she said. It is estimated that 374 million people in Asia are “digitally unreached.”

Flores said they hope to replicate in the Philippines an initiative in India that made the government target the training of at least one person in each family in digital literacy. The initiative led to over a million trained in one year.

They hope that with Tevsaphil’s network of some 4,000 schools, they can train more people with the necessary skills, raising their employability.

Tevsaphil chairman Alejandro Teves Escaño said that of the 4,406 technical and vocational schools in the Philippines, 60 percent are members of Tevsaphil. As of May 2011, 1.5 million enrolled in these schools while 1.3 million were able to complete these courses.

In Central Visayas, enrollment for that period was at 176,609 while the graduates numbered 142,498.

Jon Mercado, industry linkage manager of the Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise and heads the Visayas center of the partnership, said Cebu covers a wide range of technical and vocational skills due to the industries that are flourishing here.

However, he lamented that most key positions in companies are being held by workers from Manila or expatriates. He hopes programs such as their partnership with Intel will improve the qualifications of local workers to be able to hold managerial and supervisory positions.

Certificates of completed courses bear the mark of Tevsaphil and Intel, which Flores said could increase their chances of being hired.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 13, 2013.


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