The Coders Guild and the Department of Education (DepEd) are exploring a partnership arrangement to popularize computer science and information technology (IT) among senior high school students to expose them to the programming world.
Guild founder, business coach, and pioneering IT expert Joey Gurango said Tuesday that senior high students should be exposed to the study of the principles and use of computers and the world of programming in order to help in “nation-building by increasing the quantity and quality of entry-level programmers in the Philippines”.
He said that for starters, Coders Guild is willing to provide a free one-year online program for students which will include training a group of teachers as facilitators.
The course is designed to expose teachers and students to programming basics, the developing process of various sets of instructions for a computer to perform predefined tasks.
“All of the course is free, all you need is a computer and internet connection. The program exposes the students to the basics of programming. Most students find it fun, they enjoy it, they are attracted to it. A percentage of them go to computer science and IT. Our goal is to incorporate this course at the high school level,” Gurango said.
He said that programming is among the in-demand jobs in the world, however, IT experts are only limited.
In the Philippines, Gurango said that there are only around 300,000 IT professionals.
“We realized that there are two problems – we are not producing enough and there are less incoming programming freshmen. Also, misconception, mahirap daw and mas marami sa mga high school don’t even know what is computer science. Akala nila nag-aayos ng computer at doon namin nakita ang problema. Gusto natin na ayusin ‘yon,” he said.
He said the Philippine Programmers Rating (PPR) automated assessment tool will conduct an evaluation after the training to identify entry-level programming talent.
Gurango said the PPR is a standard of measurement to determine if the taker will excel in the programming career.
The Palawan based company iOptions Venture, which facilitates the partnership, has also offered to support the training of teachers who shall supervise the course.
“We can use our facilities for the training of teachers,” iOptions head Peter Sing said.
Computers available, but no learning materials
Napthalie Andre-e, information and communications technology teacher at Palawan National School (PNS), welcomed the opportunity, saying they are looking forward to learning something they can use to teach hundreds of students taking ICT under the academic track Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM).
He said they have 250 available computer units, but they lack learning materials.
“Favorable naman talaga [ang programa] kasi sa ngayon kulang talaga sa mga learning materials. Nandyan nga ang mga computers, internet at mga student, pero ‘yong pagiging hands on sa ICT ay kulang,” he said.
June Rille Jala, ICT teacher at the Mangingisda National High School (MNHS), said they have 150 computer units, but the animation is the only available track.
“Willing kami talaga, gusto namin na magkaroon ng ICT program na hiwalay kasi animation pa lang ang mayroon doon. Sa ngayon, may 150 units kami ng computers pero ang problema ay ang low power voltage,” he said.
Gabriel Legion, ICT teacher of San Jose National High School (SJNHS) also said they do not have a separate program for ICT in their school and wishes the program will help them to make the academic track available.
He added that ICT should be readily available and accessible to students nowadays.
“Dapat kasi sana sa panahon ngayon ay accessible na sa lahat, ang technology ay sobrang huli na tayo. Excited ako sa training na ibibigay nila kung sakali kasi alam ko na maraming matututo at dadami ang tao na mas magkakaroon ng kaalaman pagdating sa ICT. Totoo ang sinabi kanina na hindi lahat ng graduate ay job-ready kundi kailangan pa i-train, kaya we are hoping na through this ay mas maenhance ang IT knowledge ng kabataan,” Legion said.
Richard Deo Fondevilla, IT officer of the City DepEd, also committed to cooperate with the IT company to materialize the proposal.
“DepEd muna kasi ang gagalaw bago masimulan kaya titingnan naman natin kung ang training nila ay ginagamit na sa TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority), baka mas madali,” he said.