Gov’t data science program offers online course on FOI

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The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), in partnership with the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), has launched the Freedom of Information (FOI) 101 course as part of Project SPARTA.

DOST-PCIEERD executive director Eric Paringit speaking during the launch of Project SPARTA

Project SPARTA (Smarter Philippines through Data Analytics Research and Development, Training and Adoption) is an online training program that aims to upskill 30,000 Filipinos to handle big data for the benefit of the country.

It was established through a collaboration between DAP, the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), the Analytics Association of the Philippines (AAP), and Coursebank

Enrico Paringit, executive director of the DOST-PCIEERD, said the inclusion of the course is the result of a partnership between the PCOO and DAP.

Paringit said the new FOI course can be accessed by SPARTA scholars as an elective course that tackles freedom of information and good governance.

The course is now available and will teach the learners about the acquisition of government data and information as well as personal and public safety protection.

“We hope that the course will give a new dimension in good governance as we equip our data scientists with concepts on transparency and freedom of information,” he said.

PCOO assistant secretary Kristian Ablan said that he drew inspiration in crafting an FOI course at the start of the pandemic after enrolling in Project SPARTA.

He said his team then met with DAP and to develop the FOI course development plan, course outline, and learning design blueprint.

“Through the new FOI course, we focused our attention to citizens so that they can become smart citizens and exercise their democratic right to participate in governance,” he said.

DAP president and CEO Engelbert Caronan Jr. said Project SPARTA learners who will pursue the course will not only be equipped with statistical and research concepts and different data analytics tools, but also be provided access to data sets that they can use for crafting research and playing a part in building a data-driven sector to maximize data in policy making, service delivery, organizational management, and foster more innovation.

“This partnership recognizes the importance of data transparency in the commitment of our government to a future-ready nation. In line with this, the growing consensus of the value of publicly available information is evident in the variety of data initiatives across government agencies and non-government organizations,” Caronan said.

Interested Filipinos may still apply for a Project SPARTA scholarship at https://sparta.dap.edu.ph.

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