Zuitt Coding Bootcamp provides Free Web Development Training to Senior High School (SHS) students of Antique National School (ANS). The partnership training aims to lay the groundwork for Front-end Web Development coding skills for its STEM track students and teachers alike.
In this article, Zuitt interviewed Mrs. Felisa B. Beriong, the CESO VI Schools Division Superintendent (Department of Education Schools Division of Antique), to know her to take on how this initiative can improve SHS students’ interests and competency in ICT skills for the Technology Job Market.
(Interviewed by Adrianne Saldua; Written by Dana Diaz)
Why Launch this SHS Bootcamp Training Initiative with Zuitt
—— Share a brief introduction of Antique National School
Antique National School is the biggest High School in Antique. It was established in 1906. I know the school like the back of my hand because I once taught there for 10 years. The school has produced congressmen, governors, and mayors.
To give you an idea of the teachers’ quality in Antique National School (whenever there are provincial contests in Math, Science, and in Tech VOC), it will always be topped by ANS students – always in the top 3. Also, if there are contests for the Regional and for National level, we [DepEd Antique] just go to ANS to pick candidates, and more often than not, they really perform very well.
As for the recognition that the school has received, ANS bagged the “Most Outstanding School” award for a very large division or category. I’m sure that if the search did not stop 11 years ago the school would have garnered a lot of awards too.
So because of the consistently good performance of the school through the years, ANS has been labeled as the lead school in Antique. The municipal and provincial governments do not hesitate to give funding to ANS programs and projects because of the academic and co-curricular achievements of the school.
—— In general, how are the basic coding lessons done in SHS?
In the current SHS curriculum of Antique National School, there are no basic coding lectures included. Under the SHS Curriculum, students who are taking the computer programming specialization of the TVL track are the only ones who are taught coding with .net and Java Programming. In Antique, only one school is offering the Programming course and that is NAWA National High School.
—— Tell us about ANS’s current curriculum on basic coding.
For ANS, in Junior High School – STE, the curriculum offers only basic HTML and CSS coding. There’s no offering of any coding or programming for the SHS. The TVL ICT only offers, unfortunately, Animation and Illustration.
That’s why we were so grateful for this front-end web development training offered by Zuitt. It’s heaven-sent providing this opportunity to our students for FREE.
—— Why choose to elevate ANS’ SHS STEM track?
The STEM track is the flagship of the Senior High School in ANS. The school has 7 sections for both Grade 11 and Grade 12. ANS STEM students have participated in both local and international competitions in research, innovations, robotics, and other STEM-related activities.
Not only that the Front-end Development is aligned with the STEM track, but also, most of the students who are enrolled in the STEM will have the basic knowledge of web development compared to other tracks and strands.
The DepEd K-12 Curriculum does not have an ICT program applicable to all students from Grades 1 – 10. It’s only for students with ICT elective classes and STE curriculum. Most of our students from the DOST (our special class in Junior High School)proceed to STEM for their SHS. If the students have no basic skills and knowledge of using computers by then, they will have a difficult time coping with the lessons since the topics [in SHS] are already advanced.
—— What Career Opportunities are there for STEM SHS graduates?
Senior High School graduates are expected to pursue higher education, join the workforce, or begin their small businesses – applying the things that they have learned. This is encapsulated in the DepEd’s statement – “Kolehiyo, Trabaho, o Negosyo.” That’s what we always say especially when we started the K-12. We have this job landability after Senior High School, but what jobs can they go into?
When we decided to partner with Zuitt for our STEM learners, we are thinking of the future that is coming soon. It’s evidently seen in the pattern of the industrial revolution, the advent of artificial intelligence, and the emergence of industrial revolution 4.0. The future of jobs highly integrates information and communication technologies. So, the graduates who are possessing advanced skills in ICT have an advantage.
Even in DepEd, we have factored in the ICT skills of the applicants in our hiring process. There’s really an ICT test before we hire for any position. Whether we like it or not, we can’t go away from ICT.
—— How beneficial would the Zuitt-partnered training be for your community?
The training will spark our students’ interest in coding and other tech skills/careers. This will equip them with marketable skills in Web Development. It will open up job opportunities that they may have never considered before.
Acquiring these tech skills with Zuitt’s training will prepare students for freelancing careers which have recently become popular. Online jobs offer good compensation and a work-from-home setup. They will no longer be limited to only finding office jobs offered here in our Province or in other close cities.
In fact, the training already reinforced the students in their current participation in the DICT Philippine startup challenge 7. Their learnings from the Zuitt training sessions of the course program in a short amount of time really paved the way to better facilitate the problem-solving skills of the students involving the development of online apps.
How the Partnership Works
—— Why is ANS interested to collaborate with Zuitt Coding Bootcamp? Why choose Zuitt Bootcamp to help you with this initiative?
Zuitt, for one, has offered the coding Bootcamp to ANS for FREE! We immediately grabbed this rare opportunity because the caliber and quality of coding training offered by Zuitt are usually expensive and not at the top of an SHS spending priority.
Our current curriculum for SHS does not include any web development or programming. So, the skills and knowledge that they will acquire from the Zuitt Bootcamp are a most welcome addition.
Aside from the Bootcamp being offered for FREE, Zuitt has an impressive track record of producing students that are job-ready – many of whom are career shifters who did not have a background in Computer Science. Upon discussing the partnership with Zuitt, we discovered that we share many of the same values including the belief that age is not a major factor in learning in-demand tech skills. Like Zuitt, we aim for the students not to be overwhelmed by the rapid developments in technology but instead be the leaders and innovators of the future.
—— To start the Bootcamp training, what are the necessary preparations ANS had to do to prepare its students, faculty, and labs?
To start the Bootcamp training, there were some preparations that we needed to do. It was nice because Zuitt is always available for chats and conversations to help address problems.
At the beginning, the teachers already made a survey on who are computer literates, who are really interested in the Bootcamp, and who are capable and very much interested [in Zuitt’s program] so that no matter what happens they would stay on the program.
We’re so fortunate and blessed that ANS already has the facility for the Bootcamp. We have two (2) computer laboratories with a total of 50 computer desktops (25 in each laboratory), plus 200mbps internet speed.
Since the enrollment of ANS has ballooned during the pandemic, and just like any other big high school, they lacked teachers and classrooms. With this, there have been changes in the class shifts. The schedule of the classes of students who attended the Zuitt training replaced the afternoon shifts. Since the schedule is congested, I gave the instructions to ANS’ principal to adjust the activities and adjust the classes of those who will be attending the Zuitt Bootcamp.
—— Who are the beneficiaries of the project?
We chose students from the graduating class in Grade 12 – STEM. We think that the training will be most useful to them because of the strand that they are in. Later on, some of them might not be able to proceed to college, so we really think that they would find the training very useful. We chose them because they are computer literate and they are interested.
——Since this is an additional load on SHS core subjects, tell us about impressions from the people involved in this initiative: Students, Teachers, Parents?
Initially, all the slots were given to students but the teachers were all interested as well. They’re hoping that they too will be given a chance. The teachers said that it is an additional load for them to be part of the program but despite that, they think that it is a great opportunity for them.
Teachers: According to them, the program is excellent and beginner-friendly. Anyone who has no background in Web Development was able to cope with the training. This type, of course, could enhance their skills and boost their interest in Web Development. The teachers were able to use this to improve professionally and as individuals. They’re very happy with this.
Students: It was a very good opportunity for me to talk with them. There was this girl who said that she was really interested in the things Zuitt was offering. As a superintendent, you know that these kids want to learn, but nobody was there to help, there’s no venue for them to learn these important skills. So with Zuitt, finally, somebody mentored them and diverted them to creating great things. I can see in her eyes that she was really really interested and very happy.
Parents: I was also able to talk to one of the parents and she said that she knows that it is extremely difficult for her child, as far as time management is concerned. Since the subjects in STEM are already difficult, and their class schedule is full. But, she mentioned that “A computer is a machine that could make life easier and that could make work lighter.” She knows that the training cost is high and that they’re just so blessed to have this. She mentioned that they could not possibly afford it. That is why they are so grateful to Zuitt and also to DepEd.
——How is the training going?
The training was very encouraging for the students as it readies their mindset for coding. And they mentioned that the instructors are friendly and helpful which made it really efficient and stimulating.
They were so happy when they mentioned that some find it easy and some find it hard. But they all agreed in saying that they are grateful because the Zuitt instructors are really approachable. The instructors ask the students from time to time how they are and if they are still coping with the lessons. When somebody comments that they need help, everybody stops for that one student, and when everyone’s on the same page, that’s when the class continues. And slowly, they are learning to adjust to the schedule.
——What’s the best thing about partnering with Zuitt?
Zuitt has a wonderful vision of giving opportunities for everyone, everywhere.
This partnership proves that they are true to their mission because apart from their desire to help uplift the lives of Filipinos from adults to young leaders they are also the industry leader of the field. We know that they will impart valuable knowledge to the students in Antique National School which could help better their lives.
I personally believe that that’s the reason why the company was established. Mr. Tomohisa Kato (Founder and CEO of Zuitt) never failed to remind us what his personal vision is. I was touched when he said that “This is it!” This is the application of his personal vision – “to help Filipinos better their lives.”
—— Why do you think other Senior High Schools should try this initiative with Zuitt?
Because it can truly add an edge to their existing general SHS curriculum. If this kind of opportunity can be offered to more schools, it can help more students to be more globally competitive with skills that are in demand in the industry of Web Development.
It’s really sad to think that in other countries, coding is already done in elementary. And for us, Filipinos, we’re catching up at Grade 12. This is a blessing! If only all high schools in the country has this! I am really praying that Zuitt will not stop and that they will always be there for ANS. I’m praying that the other schools would also benefit from this and that the Bootcamp will also be extended to other schools.
What’s next for Antique National School and Zuitt Coding Bootcamp?
—— Tell us about ANS’ next goals for their SHS community. How can Zuitt be helpful?
I am really hoping that there will be a continuous provision of an excellent curriculum in Web Development. It would be a huge help in training students and teachers alike. This can help us ensure that we can have employment-ready, higher-education-ready youth in the province of Antique when it comes to IT education.
ANS is under DepEd, and DepEd’s main goal is to prepare students for work, college, or business and Zuitt can really be able to help in that aspect.
—— Would you recommend web dev training for SHS? If so, how should this training be conducted for schools?
I highly recommend it! The world has been shifting more and more to online education, even online employment. I believe it will not stop soon.
Our schools, curriculum, teachers, and students would do well to adapt to this challenge if we can replicate this curriculum hopefully to more private and public SHS and in return, we could bridge the gap between our graduates and potential employers or even potential higher-education institutions. I believe that it would be a worthy pursuit.
—— Are there other things that you would like to share with us?
We’re just a bunch of government employees hoping to make a difference for our learners. With the help of Zuitt, I believe we can do that. At the end of the day, this will still be our “Lupang hinirang, Bayang magiliw, at Perlas ng silanganan.”
We hope that our central office will be able to see the benefit of really having this initiative in our curriculum.
(End of interview)
Interested to partner with Zuitt to elevate your Senior High School STEM track? Drop us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be glad to discuss how we can collaborate.