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UPOU co-hosts industry-academe forum on e-Service Management Program

The third of the series of IT-BPM Industry Academic Dialogue was conducted on 24 April 2015 at the UP Open University Headquarters. The dialogue is an initiative of the UP Open University, IT-Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) and the Asian development Bank (ADB) to encourage the higher education and technical vocational institutions to prepare their students for the opportunities offered by the growing BPO sector.

Dr. Melinda F. Lumanta, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, explained that the under ADB project, the UPOU has partnered with IBPAP in addressing the skills shortage in the Information Technology Business Process Management (IT-BPM) industry by aligning the higher education curriculum with both international standards and labor demand and building on public -private initiatives.

The UPOU is one of the academic institutions which took the call to help the industry by offering the online version of the Service Management Program dubed as eSMP. UPOU Chancellor Grace Javier Alfonso emphasized the "urgency of the need for the academic institution to be part of building and developing the manpower needed for the industry that contributed so much to our economy." She described the initiatives of the UP Open University in offering BPO courses as massive open online courses (MOOCs) based on the courseware developed by IBPAP. She also showed how an institution can participate in the eSMP.

Mr. Jose Marie P. Mercado, IBPAP President, presented the status of the BPO industry and how it has contributed to the national economy by building the careers of today and tomorrow. He reported that in 2014 the IT-BPM industry hired more than 1 million employees and is projected to add 160,000 jobs this year. "This industry has been growing 12 to 15 % year on year for the last 10 years, which is double the global pace."

The Philippines is more preferred by international companies because of the Filipinos’ good customer service orientation and English language proficiency. However, according to Mercado, "human resources which may have been our biggest asset is also our biggest liability." He said that most of the college graduates lack the skills that the industry requires, notably English proficiency. He said that 40% of the near hires could be trained to make them more employable.

To expand the talent pool for the industry, IBPAP developed a 21-unit courseware called Service Management Program (SMP), a specialized undergraduate track approved by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). It aims to prepare students, from all types of traditional courses, for careers in the BPO industry by equipping them with the required competencies needed for entry-level position and for further career development.

Mr. Ronald L. Arambulo, IBPAP’s Executive Director for Finance and Shared Services, explained that with the increasing demand for IT-BPM, Filipinos do not need to go abroad. He emphasized that the BPM career is not a fallback career. It is also a profession that requires hard work, commitment and dedication to be successful.

During the forum, it was explained that HEIs that would like to offer SMP can have their teachers trained through the UPOU-run and freely accessible eSMP courses. The learning materials for eSMP are also available online and can be used by the schools for free. eSMP also offers an opportunity for HEIs and BPO companies to partner for student recruitment and school infrastructure development.

Also present during the dialogue were Dr. Melinda dP. Bandalaria and Dr. Primo G. Garcia who served as the program’s master of ceremonies and moderator, respectively.

The first industry-academe dilaogue was held in Taguig City on 8 April and the second one in Cebu City on 22 April. (Eleanor Payawal-Manipol)

Public consultations on Open and Distance Learning Act kick off at UPOU.

On 24 April 2015, the UP Open University hosted the first public consultation on the proposed Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 10650 (Open and Distance Learning Act). Since its approval in December 2014, the Commission on…

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21st Century Education in an Open World