Computer science training set for pilot-test in public elementary schools in PH

To help bridge the “digital divide” in the Philippines, the Ayala Foundation has officially launched its latest digital education project <code/it> in a ceremonial signing event last May 14.

Photo shows (from left) Romualdo Katigbak, chief financial officer of Ayala Foundation; Joanna Duarte, senior director of social development at Ayala Foundation; Vivien Reyes, chief information officer at Ayala Foundation; Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, chairman and CEO of Ayala Corporation and co-chairman of Ayala Foundation; Andres Ortola, country general manager of Microsoft Philippines; Hong Nhi Le, philanthropies lead for South East Asia; Raul Cortez, legal and corporate affairs director of Microsoft Philippines; Jan Philippe Tanchi, HR Lead at Microsoft Philippines; and Christian Lim, chief operating officer of Microsoft Philippines

Conceptualized by Ayala Foundation and in partnership with Microsoft Philanthropies for the launch of the pilot program, <code/it> will introduce computer science concepts and skills training to Filipino school children in underserved communities.

Also working closely with the Department of Education, Ayala Foundation aims to make an impact on the lives of at least 4,000 students from public elementary schools nationwide.

“We are happy to see that through the foundation and like-minded partners, we are continuously able to deepen the positive impact to our communities,” said Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, chairman and CEO of Ayala Corporation and co-chairman of Ayala Foundation.

The project’s curriculum will be designed by subject matter experts and will be implemented using a two-pronged approach. A first wave of public school teachers and support staff will be trained initially and they will in turn train a second wave of teachers in their respective schools in order to scale up the impact of the project more efficiently.

The computer science and coding lessons will be integrated into the curriculum of Grades 3-6. The students will not only learn how to use various coding platforms, they will also get to develop skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, logical reasoning, creativity, and innovation.

In addition to the training for the teachers, the program will also provide the equipment and tools needed to convert concepts into practical learning that will make the lessons more relevant and engaging for the students.

“Ayala Foundation actively supports the continuing growth and development of our teachers and students in the public school sector,” said Ayala Foundation president Ruel Maranan.

“Through digital education brought by <code/it>, we are equipping our students and teachers with the necessary tools and skills that will help them remain relevant in an increasingly competitive and fast-changing digital world.”

Microsoft Philippines general manager Andrés Ortola said Microsoft recognizes the importance of developing the academic curriculum in order to include new courses that would help Filipino students be future-ready.

“Through this partnership, we hope to empower the young generation with skills that would allow them to easily adapt and leverage artificial intelligence in their future careers.”

<code/it> will be piloted in 12 public elementary schools nationwide starting this June. With high hopes for a successful pilot program, Ayala Foundation hopes that it can expand and scale up this program significantly with continued strong support from technology partners like Microsoft Philanthropies and other corporate benefactors.

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