IBM forges private-public collab to build digital-ready workforce in PH

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IBM Philippines announced on Tuesday, Feb. 16, partnerships with the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), the Department of Education (DepEd), the Analytics Association of the Philippines (AAP), and the Project Inclusion Network (PIN) to further IBM’s global education efforts to help close the digital skills gap and enhance socioeconomic development.

PBSP is partnering with IBM to create at least two P-TECH schools and expand use of Open P-TECH this year. P-TECH is a public-education model that provides high school students from underserved backgrounds with the academic, technical, and professional skills, as well as credentials needed for STEM jobs which may require more than a high school diploma but not necessarily a university degree. Taguig City University hosts the first P-TECH school in the country which opened in 2019.

“These initiatives – being the first of its kind in the Philippines – are very timely as the education sector continues to reinvent teaching and learning in the current pandemic. Moreover, the internship and workplace learning opportunities offered by industry partners can further help students to gain the right skills they will need for the professional world,” said PBSP executive director Rey Laguda.

DepEd-NCR will be deploying Open P-TECH, a free digital education platform, accessible via desktop and mobile, focused on teaching learners emerging technologies and professional skills.

SelectedOpen P-TECH modules, such as the introduction to AI, communications, and design thinking, will be embedded into the basic education curriculum for Grade 8 to 12.

Over 400 DepEd-NCR educators have been oriented on this project, which will roll-out in 101 NCR public schools and is estimated to benefit around 55,000 learners.

The Open P-TECH program has been designed to democratize technology, by curating and simplifying content for more than 223,000 learners and teachers in more than 137 countries. It follows a non-curriculum format to enable fundamental learning and foster STEM careers.

“It is undeniable that forging a better tomorrow for our country starts with our learners. Providing them relevant and quality education is their right and the only path towards nation-building. So, we must relentlessly bring them a learning platform that adapts to present challenges and molds them to become life-long learners,” Malcolm S. Garma, director IV at DepEd NCR said.

The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2020 highlighted analytical thinking and innovation as the most sought-after skills over the next five years. This is important for those seeking data science and analytics job roles. 

To address this need, AAP will create a skills map for entry-level analytics roles, and formulate learning/skills requirements into the Senior High School (SHS) and Associate Degree in Computer Technology (ACT) curriculum supported by Open P-TECH content.

“IBM has redefined the education model with P-TECH and Open P-TECH. Through our partnership with IBM, we can help to create a focused analytics strand in Senior High School that will lead to an Associate Degree in Data Engineering, Data Science, or AI. While AAP is advocating that certain analytics jobs require the rigors of higher education, there is a high demand for entry level jobs that can be filled immediately,” Sherwin M. Pelayo, co-chair of AAP’s Policy, Research and Insights Council.

PIN will be a deployment partner for Open P-TECH and hub partner for SkillsBuild. IBM SkillsBuild is a free digital learning platform for adult learners that offers them a curated path of job-focused learning, supported by organizations that address their specific needs. As a hub partner, PIN will support other nonprofits from the disability sector.

According to Jim Nemeño, operations lead of Project Inclusion Network, “These learning platforms can help to bridge the current skill gaps for persons with disabilities by providing them access to the right skills and knowledge to help them prepare for a better tomorrow. We are delighted to partner with IBM and we hope other companies will facilitate similar opportunities for underserved communities.”

“IBM’s collaboration with partners across sectors is key in ensuring we are able to cast a wider net in providing learners, both students and professionals, with equal access to quality education on the emerging technologies and professional skills relevant to the digital era and marketplace. We look forward to more like-minded organizations to join us in making a difference with IBM’s social impact programs,” Aileen Judan-Jiao, president and country general manager of IBM Philippines said.

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