CEBU

Agri, tech-voc courses to support gov’t

WHAT THE COUNTRY NEEDS. Salazar Colleges of Science and Institute of Technology president Alden Salazar says the academe must respond to the country’s needs. (SunSTar foto / Katlene O. Cacho)

CEBU-BASED Salazar Colleges of Science and Institute of Technology (SCSIT) will be pushing for agriculture and technical-vocation (tech-voc) courses to support the government’s thrust to support agriculture, and aid the government in its rollout of the P9-trillion infrastructure program.

SCSIT president Alden Salazar said they are aligning their courses with what the country needs so their students can easily land jobs after graduation.

Salazar said it isn’t the lack of talent that’s hurting industries, but the shortage of skilled labor, particularly in construction.

He said that although many skilled workers have gone abroad for the higher take-home pay and causing a bit of a brain-drain, the academe must respond immediately by offering courses that the industry urgently needs.

Salazar said this would also address concerns over the possibility of the government hiring foreign labor to fast-track the government’s infrastructure projects.

President Rodrigo Duterte blamed the lack of skilled workers for the supposed delay in the implementation of the Build, Build, Build program.

Salazar noted that in other countries, courses like masonry, carpentry, welding, tile setting, scaffolding, painting and plumbing are being offered to students making them highly-skilled and experts in their chosen field when they graduate.

“In the Philippines, however, there is no proper structure of training program for tech-voc courses,” he said. “This is the reason we are ramping up our tech-voc offerings.” SCSIT has two campuses in Cebu.

Its main campus on N. Bacalso Ave., Cebu City has a student population of 1,844, 1,054 of which are college students.

It offers engineering and maritime courses for senior high, business and hospitality management, education, criminology, nursing, computer science and information technology and tech-vocational courses by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda).

Salazar said the Cebu campus will soon offer accountancy and accountancy technology.

Its Madridejos campus in Bantayan Island, Cebu, on the other hand, is positioned to focus on agriculture.

Salazar said that because of the expanding middle class and faster growth in population, the country’s agriculture sector has to be taken care of.

As soon as the permits are completed, SCSIT will be offering education courses with majors in agriculture and fisheries by June this year.

The school has a current student population of 1,730, 1,430 of which are college students.

According to Salazar, agriculture is another sector that needs urgent intervention. He said pushing for agriculture programs in school will help the country achieve food security in the near term and at the same time encourage the younger generation not to veer away from agri-related courses.

“Agriculture is often equated with poverty and underprivileged status. We need to change this perspective,” he said.

Agriculture courses will also be offered in SCSIT’s future campuses in Talisay City and Buhisan, Cebu City. An upcoming campus in the City of Naga will offer criminology courses.

Besides strengthening the tech-voc and agricultural courses, Salazar said they are also ramping up their senior high school offerings in maritime, hotel and restaurant management (HRM) and agriculture.

The school is also partnering with Norwegian Cruise Lines and Korean Shipping Company for the internship programs of its students.

Moreover, the Salazar family is also rehabilitating their beach property in Bantayan Island. The Tarong Beach Resort was destroyed during super typhoon Yolanda.

Salazar said they are rebuilding the resort to support the internship program of their students taking up HRM.

On top of offering new programs, the 36-year-old school is also investing in upgrading its school facilities.

“We are doing improvements little by little,” said Salazar, adding that they will remain an academic institution that offers quality education at affordable rates.

SCSIT is also eyeing to become a university in five years’ time.


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