The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has formalized a partnership that would open new available grant slots for higher education institution (HEI) faculty to work on various ICT projects for 2017. The ceremonial signing was held last December 6, 2016 at Sulô Riviera Hotel.

A total of eighty-six slots will be open to HEI teaching personnel via the Sectoral Engagement (SE) Grants under CHED’s K to 12 Transition Program. Selected grantees—who should have a background in ICT-related disciplines such as Computer Science, Information Technology, or Computer Engineering—will help in the development of DICT projects, namely the Free Wi-Fi Internet Access in Public Places Project, the National ICT Training Division, and the Competency Standards and Certifications Management Division.

“With the expertise of our faculty and staff, we are confident that this partnership will make significant progress in strengthening ICT capacities across the country. In addition, our educators could build on this experience and enable them to better train and inspire our students to use their skills for nation-building,” said CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan.

The SE Grants, which supports grantees through a monthly grant amount during the duration of the engagement, aims to develop faculty and staff through immersion in government, civil society, and industry in order to align faculty instruction with current field practice.

In return, partners are able to tap the technical expertise of HEI personnel to improve their capacity to effectively respond to their stakeholders’ needs. This leverages on the time freed up from HEI personnel who are expected to have less workload during the K to 12 transition period from 2016 to 2021.

The DICT, on the other hand, aims to build ICT capabilities for all sectors in the country. To do this and bridge the digital divide, they will be rolling out the Free Wi-Fi Project in target municipalities across all regions. In this light, DICT will then deploy faculty-grantees with command of the local language to conduct trainings on courseware content in municipalities.

The National ICT Training Division (NTD) will also need experts to update and develop ICT trainings on par with ICT-enabled industries and academic institutions, particularly in JAVA Programming, System Analysis and Design, and Unified Modelling Language (UML). The courses will be used to build capacities of public sector institutions and developing government human resources to become more globally competitive.

Lastly, the Competency Standards and Certification Management (CSCM) Division requires ICT faculty to develop ICT competency standards, which will be used in competency-based certification exams and developing a competency-based curriculum.

DICT Undersecretary Eliseo Rio Jr. stressed the need for an “ICT-empowered and responsible human capital”, stating that through synergistic activities can the Philippines become “globally competitive, have a knowledge-based economy, and develop digitally-empowered citizens.”

“We continue to explore different partnerships with various sectors to sustain our momentum in upgrading the quality of higher education in the country. It is only through mutual and unified efforts that we can pursue our goals for every teacher, student, and Filipino we serve,” shared Licuanan.

The K to 12 Transition Program

The K to 12 Transition Program is a five-year effort aimed at the strategic development of HEIs and personnel during the transition period from 2016 to 2021. The Program includes a range of programs to support faculty and staff through scholarships for master’s and doctoral programs, locally and abroad, non-degree programs, as well as institutional grants for HEIs.