ADB to fund set-up of ?knowledge hubs? in PH

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[/caption] A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by the government, through the Department of Finance (DOF), and the ADB, during the sidelines of the 45th ADB Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors that concluded on Saturday, May 5, at the Philippine International Convention Center. ?IT-BPO is the fastest-growing employment and one of the highest revenue generating sectors in the country? In 2010, the country surpassed India in terms of voice related outsourced work to become the global leader in this area. The industry is now moving up the value chain from voice-based services (e.g., call centers) toward knowledge-based activities,? the MoU said. ?Improving national competitiveness, moving into knowledge-based services, and achieving and maintaining rapid economic progress, would require an educated workforce equipped with skills that meet the demands of high-growth industries,? it added. The three-year program aims to align the curriculum of higher education institutions (HEI) with the needs of the IT-BPO sector through ?a replicable and sustainable model of ICT-enabled knowledge hub for improved teaching and learning of IT-BPO industry-based curriculum in HEIs.? A total of $500,000 will be sourced from the Republic of Korea e-Asia and Knowledge Partnership Fund by the ADB, while the Philippine government will provide the remaining $150,000 ?in kind contributions.? At least three hubs will be established in the country with one each in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, the MoU stated. All hubs will be ICT-enabled and provide ?online training? to teachers and ?digitized learning modules and study guides? for students. A ?standard industry-based? instrument and ?assessment tools? that shall measure student and teacher competencies and progress will also be financed as well as the accreditation and integration of various IT-BPO courses being offered by the industry and the government. The MoU said at least 900 faculty members and 3,000 college-level students, of which at least 50 percent are females, will benefit from the program. A steering committee chaired by the DOF with members from the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), National Economic and Development Authority, the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) and ?other government agencies,? will also be established to oversee the agreement?s implementation. Revenues from the IT-BPO industry, one of the priority areas of the Aquino administration, have consistently grown by double-digit figures over the past decade. In 2011, data from the Board of Investments showed IT-BPO revenues grew by 24 percent to roughly $11 billion with the industry employing 638,000 people as full-time employees. The government targets to make IT-BPO a $25-billion industry by 2016 and had ever since embarked on various programs to move up the value chain. The CHEd and Tesda (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority), for example, had initiated separate programs to support IT-BPO growth, while the BPAP had also its own. ADB Board of Governors chairman and DOF Secretary Cesar V. Purisima, who signed the MoU for the government, said: ?The IT-BPO sector has been one of the sunshine industries in the Philippines and sustaining its performance has been the priority of this government as we believe on its potential to generate jobs and in the process, boost demand and growth in the country,? he added.]]>

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