THE Cebu IT BPM.Organization (Cib.O) is working with the Cebu City Government and other industry stakeholders to make Cebu City the first city of coders in the Philippines.
Cib.O managing director Wilfredo Sa-a Jr. said they initially enrolled 30 senior high school teachers for a two-day coding training in October. They plan to mount another training session for the second batch of teachers in April, following the positive response of the trainees.
Cib.O partnered with the local school board, Department of Education-Cebu, Accenture, Department of Information and Communications Technology and Batch 1976 of the Cebu City National High School to mount the training.
The project is also in partnership with Code.org, a non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science in schools. The organization’s vision is for every student in every school to learn computer science, just like biology, chemistry or algebra.
Code.org is supported by organizations including Amazon, Facebook, Google, the Infosys Foundation, and Microsoft, among others.
“We believe that we have to teach our future talents more coding skills because eventually, more and more jobs will require this skill, so they’ll become more employable,” said Sa-a.
Coding is the computer language used to develop apps, websites and software.
“Cebu City is several steps ahead in this kind of initiative. Other cities are already starting,” said Sa-a.
“The goal for this project is to make Cebu City the first city of coders in the whole Philippines,” said Sa-a, adding that although there are numerous coding training in the country, these are being offered to college teachers.
Cib.O identified five pilot schools for this program. Ten teachers were trained from Cebu City National Science High School and five teachers each from Apas National High School, Don Carlos Gothong High School, Mabolo National High School and Tisa National High School.
Sa-a said they prioritized training the teachers for the program to be sustainable, as they aim to equip more teachers with coding skills that they can pass on to senior high students.
“We used a training approach that makes coding interesting for all teachers. We made it more fun, less traumatic that even teachers from other disciplines can deliver or pass the coding training, as long as they’re interested and committed,” he said.
From October to April, Sa-a said the teachers are enrolled in online courses, which are being monitoring on a weekly basis.
Besides senior high school teachers, they plan to include junior high and elementary teachers in the training.
With the fast evolving technology, students must have strong information technology (IT) skills in the early days of education, Sa-a said.
For this year, the IT and business process outsourcing industry is eyeing to get more high-value services such as shared services, health information management services, IT outsourcing, engineering services, and research and development services.
“Cebu is now slowly going to non-voice,” said Sa-a, adding that that city’s priority is to get more locators from the knowledge process outsourcing sphere.
However, he noted that while they continue to market Cebu in the global outsourcing industry, there is also a need for the academe to equip students with the right technology skills to capture these lucrative digital opportunities.