A Better Future for Every Learner in Southeast Asia

All it takes is a blank wall and ideas come to life.

This was how SEAMEO INNOTECH revolutionized their 14th International Conference held in Quezon City, Philippines. With the theme, “A better future for every learner in Southeast Asia,” participants experienced an innovative and deliberate approach in problem solving and decision making – the Open Space Technology.

The two-day conference from December 8-9, 2015 empowered the youth, educators, and development leaders to speak out their thoughts on issues they are passionate about, specifically on improving the quality of education in the region. With 150 delegates representing 15 countries, more than 80 topics were created (which eventually was narrowed down to 53 topics) filling the place with dynamic and interactive conversation sessions.

Conversations focused on the need for quality education, improvement of school facilities, challenges in learning the English language, technology in education, and the like. Other issues discussed include equal educational opportunities for the out-of-school youth (OSY), children with disabilities, and children with special needs. Life skills, career readiness, and employability skills also caught the attention of the group.

After all the discussions made and action plans established, 7 major topics were selected and drafted for the Youth Education Agenda. These are: (1) ICT in Education, (2) Values Education for 21st Century Learners, (3) Youth ASEAN Integration, (4) Improving Leadership Skills, (5) 21st Century Teaching Learning in Global Setting, (6) How can we improve health and nutrition including sanitation facilities in schools, and (7) Equal Access of Out-of-School Youth, Adults and Indigenous People for Quality Education and Improving Life Skills and Work Readiness for Out-of-School Youth.

Key officials from the education sector have been invited to listen and respond to the major agendas drafted by the participants. Dr. Steve Anzalone, Senior Vice President of Education Development Center (EDC) applauded the unique albeit “chaotic” process of Open Space Technology. Commissioner Earl Saavedra of the National Youth Commission (NYC) highlighted institutionalization and sustainability through capacity building, advocacy programs, policies and convergence. Secretary Armin Luistro of the Department of Education challenged the participants to go beyond what the government can offer and initiate change within themselves.

“What are you willing to sacrifice for others to live and survive?”

This was just one of the many questions Secretary Luistro raised during the conference. The real question, however, is how the participants will bring home these issues and translate them into a vision that can bring about transformative change in other people’s lives.

SFI Group graces the PESO Map meeting with a Workforce Vision: The Philippine TalentMap© Initiative (PTMI)

Koronadal City, South Cotabato, Mindanao – Armed with a blessing from DOLE-BLE, SFI Group presented the project details of the Philippine TalentMap© Initiative (PTMI), among the twenty five (25) PESO managers from the different field offices in the Philippines. The project is an initiative that will be conducted by SFI Group, in coordination with DOLE-BLE and PESO field offices (FOs). Seventeen (17) cities within the National Capital Region (NCR) will be participating in the pilot implementation, while the selected provinces will be on the roll-out.

Mr. Luis Alberto Anastacio, President and CEO of SFI Group of Companies acquainted the participants on the philosophical underpinnings of the initiative vis-à-vis the current trends and issues of the workforce. He has also given snippets of the other projects conducted by SFI Group in Bataan and shown how important the linkage is among schools, industries, local government units (LGUs) and communities in implementing a program to address the issues and problems of the present workforce. Ms. Gina Jusay, Programs and Operations Head of SFI Career Center, strengthened the statements of Mr. Anastacio through the presentation of the steps, procedures and specifics of the project. Meanwhile, Mr. Richard Monteverde, Senior Career Coach and Head Researcher of SFI Group answered a few questions regarding the initiative’s end-in-mind, together with Mr. Anastacio.

After the activity, reactions on issues like funding benefactor(s), schedule of implementation, partnerships with schools and other institutions, management of multiple workloads, were among the concerns raised by some of the key individuals from the PESO group. Nevertheless, everyone was looking forward for the project’s roll-out to some of the provinces. To show their excitement, some even shared valuable insights on how the project can build upon the findings, specifically be replicated and implemented on a wider scope and be contextualized, in consideration with the scope and limitations of some localities.

Finally, Ms. Vissia Marie P. Aldon, current President of the PESO Map Inc., and PESO Manager of Makati field office, thanked the guests from SFI Group and affirmed the project’s pilot and roll-out, NCR-wide and province-wide, respectively.