Zuitt and ANS elevate SHS STEM Track with Free Bootcamp Training Initiative: A Teacher, Student, and Parent’s Viewpoint

In 2022, Zuitt Coding Bootcamp started the Free Front-end Web Development Training initiative for Senior High School students. 

Together with the Department of Education (DepEd) – Antique, Zuitt collaborated with Antique National School (ANS) to provide its online coding training, which served as an enrichment subject for the curriculum of ANS’ Grade 12 STEM Track students. 

This is a documentation of feedback interviews from Zuitt’s Free Front-end Web Development Training for its Senior High School Partner – Antique National School. This partnership is led by Zuitt Coding Bootcamp and made possible by the Department of Education (DepEd) – Antique Chapter. The following interviews below highlighted the viewpoints of its project beneficiaries represented by ANS’ SHS Teachers – Ms. Karmel Macatigos and Ms. Venerose Occena, SHS Students – Neil and Ezekiel, and parent representatives of SHS students – Ms. Cherrylyn and Sir Romeo.

(Interviewed and written by Dana Diaz)


—— Introduce yourself to Zuitt’s Community.

[Karmel] Hi, I’m Karmel Macatigos. I’m an ICT Teacher and the ICT Coordinator of Antique National School’s Senior High School. I am teaching ICT subjects for Grades 11 & 12 and I have been teaching for almost 5 years. 

[Venerose] Hi, I’m Venerose Occena. I’m a teacher at Antique National School, handling ICT subjects for the Senior High School. I have also been a teacher for 5 years and am exploring this specialization. 

—— What were your expectations for the Bootcamp?

[Karmel] Some students joined the Bootcamp wherein they didn’t have any basic skills using a computer. However, I did expect that they would learn additional knowledge about computers and, of course, web development. 

Our SHS students have heavy main subjects. But so far, in terms of learning and gaining knowledge in Zuitt, the Bootcamp is great. It’s 100%.

[Venerose] My thoughts about the overall program is that it is very organized. There were regular follow-ups and feedback from ANS’ end and Zuitt’s end. For our expectations for this partnership, Zuitt was able to meet them at the highest level.

——  What were your observations of the students who pushed through with the Bootcamp?

[Karmel] Those who pursued and continued the Bootcamp, so far from what I have seen, their interest in the Tech Industry leveled up. Others in the STEM track were more likely into Engineering or Nursing. Some of these students gained interest. They started having thoughts that they can shift into the Tech industry and actually do Programming and Web Development in the future.

[Venerose] With my observation, at first, the students were taking time to grasp the coding process since the concept was still new to them. But as the Bootcamp progressed, especially in the last few sessions that they had, I noticed that they code a little faster, they know their tagging, and they are more alert in replying to the instructor. With that, they just needed an adjustment period. I was able to witness their improvements. They are starting to have an interest in coding and programming too.  

——  Share your observations on how the Zuitt instructors conducted the training sessions.

[Karmel] The Zuitt instructors were very patient and understanding to the kids. Some students were able to pick up the lessons faster than others. They were very accommodating. They patiently wait for the students and ask if there are any difficulties. And if there is, the instructor will try to pause the topic and see that they will help that particular student who needs help to keep up with the pace. And if their session with Zuitt is done, the students are still encouraged to send in their questions via their group chat.

[Venerose] I would also like to highlight that Zuitt instructors are understanding when it comes to giving consideration to the students. Sometimes, I attend the class, and I witness how Zuitt instructors follow up with the students and try to balance the students’ pace from time to time. They check with the students to see if they understand and can still follow. They make sure no one is left behind. Even with the student activities, they are understanding. They give extensions for the activity submissions. We appreciate that about Zuitt instructors. We’re thankful for that. 

——  In your opinion, once these students graduate Senior High School, given that they had this training with Zuitt, do you think they’d be able to start a career in Tech right away?

[Karmel] Yes! This is especially for students who have a keen interest in web development. It really boils down to the student’s personal interests and hobbies. If they want to start working after SHS, it is possible. And since the coding training with Zuitt is an advanced skill for them, I think it could help these students get a job at an earlier age.

[Venerose] Their job opportunities are widened. This training is a big opportunity for them. I have seen students who showed interest in coding.  Some would maybe attend college and push through with a programming course. But if not in college, this will be an opportunity for them to have a side job.  Their training with Zuitt is a jumpstart and a good opportunity for them.

——  Does the current SHS ICT track curriculum for ANS has a practical application like that of Zuitt’s Bootcamp training?

[Karmel] Regarding ANS’ Senior High School – ICT track curriculum, so far, there’s no practical application for web development. Although they have a website-building topic, it’s limited to a drag-and-drop feature (no-code apps). But in terms of coding training like what Zuitt offers, we don’t have that. We are very thankful that Zuitt joined in to fill that gap. 

Since we are talking about the Senior High School students only, I’d also have to mention that here in ANS, programming subjects are offered in Junior High School in their 9th grade. We have grade 11 students who are eager. They are asking if Zuitt will still be offering this same opportunity in the next school year. 

——  How do you think Zuitt can help more teaching professionals like you, especially those handling the ICT track for SHS?

[Karmel] This initiative is very interesting to us professionals. As teachers of DepEd, sadly, we weren’t able to make time to join in the Bootcamp training because of our teaching load. Of course, in terms of professional skills, this will be very helpful for us and it’s a big opportunity. We regret that we were only able to attend the first 2 sessions of the Bootcamp training with Zuitt. Ms. Venerose and I were envious of this opportunity that the students had. 

[Venerose] On my end, I regret it a lot. It’s been a long time since we studied programming for our Bachelor’s degree. The technologies taught by Zuitt today are not the same technologies that we have learned in our college days. It could help professionals like us who are inclined to ICT to have this kind of opportunity for continuous learning and career growth. Hopefully, there will be a next time. 

——  What is your message for SHS students of other schools who would experience the same training ANS’ SHS students had? 

[Karmel] This is my message to SHS students who wish to join the Zuitt Bootcamp: Since this is a very big opportunity for them to learn and this is not something given out a lot, the knowledge and skills that you will build through your training with Zuitt can be used in whatever field you may be in. It can help you get job opportunities. 

There are students who are shy to join Zuitt. At first, some are nervous and they keep asking who Zuitt is and what Zuitt does. For the SHS students, if ever we get this opportunity with Zuitt again, join the program. It is pretty easy, especially since Zuitt instructors are accommodating. If you have questions or difficulty coping with the lessons, you can always approach the Zuitt instructors and ask for help. Hopefully, there will be another run. 

[Venerose] To all the SHS students who will get the chance to join this Bootcamp opportunity with Zuitt, please grab it! It’s a big opportunity, and like Ms. Karmel said, gaining the skills from Bootcamp will help you even if you’re coming from a very distant field. You can build a lot of startups with Zuitt. Even with just the basic training, you’ll be able to develop your coding and logical skills. 

—— Anything else you would like to share with Zuitt?

[Karmel] To Zuitt, thank you so much for the opportunity that you have given to ANS, especially to our students. We are thankful that you have given us this big opportunity to gain knowledge and experience about what Zuitt Coding Bootcamp is or what front-end web development is. Thank you so much!

[Venerose] To Zuitt (all those who are a part of the Zuitt team), thank you so much for letting our students experience the front-end web development Bootcamp training. We are thankful that Zuitt picked Antique National School as its partner for this Free Coding Training program. Thank you to all the teachers and students who are very understanding. Thank you for this opportunity. 


—— Introduce yourself to the Zuitt Community

[Neil] Hi, I am Neil Noga. I am currently a graduating Senior High School student in ANS. I am participating in Zuitt’s Free Coding Training because I think that the coding knowledge that I will gain from this Bootcamp course will help me excel in Marine Transportation. I also believe that coding knowledge can aid technological advances in ship transportation. 

[Ezekiel] Hello, I am Ezekiel Quanico. I am a graduating student from ANS and a participant in Zuitt’s Free Coding Training. I joined the program because learning coding languages will be helpful to secure a stable career in the next 10 to 20 years. Since my future course in college will be mainly applied skills, my learnings in Zuitt can help me get a part-time job while studying at the university.

—— Why did you choose STEM?

[Neil] I chose STEM because it could help me secure a career as a Seaman or Veterinarian in the future. 

[Ezekiel] The STEM strand is aligned with the course I want to take up in college. The majority of my friends and former classmates also prefer STEM. Learning is fun when you are with your friends.  

—— Do you have friends who you trained with?

[Neil] I invited my group of friends to join me in the training since I felt that the career that they want is in line with coding. Like me, they also want to pursue being a Seaman. Since we are taking the class in the same laboratory, we discuss each other’s codes to explore new effects for the website.  

—— How was your training?

[Neil] I was initially overwhelmed since it was a new course and learning environment. I was curious about the process of how coding and web development work. I expected the lessons to be difficult and challenging, but our instructors taught us the basics and guided us step-by-step. I was still able to catch up with the lessons. The highlight of my learning experience was making the Front-end development capstone project. Whenever I can’t fully grasp the lessons,  I try to research and study the codes at home.  

[Ezekiel] The instructors are friendly and approachable. There are times that some students need to catch up during the live instruction since it is something new to us, but the instructors try to explain the programming syntax and its usage carefully. We had so much fun during the training. I will especially enjoy it if I have a personal laptop at home to experiment with the codes. It is manageable if you give enough attention to learning the coding functions. Zuitt gave us basic Front-end development skills, but as a student, you also need to allocate time and effort to learn. 

——  How’s the harmony and pacing in the class?

[Neil] Some students are experiencing difficulty in inputting the codes and syntaxes, but we teamed up and taught those who are falling behind. The instructors also give special class sessions aside from the 3-5PM class schedule, that’s why the majority can catch up with the training. I also experienced this kind of special morning schedule – the Zuitt instructors find time in their schedule to give additional guidance.

[Ezekiel] The pacing in the class is good, but there are students that need help to follow the lessons because of their busy schedules.  My classmate Ron is excellent in class but sometimes can’t attend the live instruction since he has other responsibilities to manage. There are no problems with Zuitt’s instructional pacing, but some participants are having challenges with their jam-packed schedules.

—— What is your message to your Zuitt Instructor? 

[Neil] Thank you because even if we are struggling during the class, you still give us time to absorb and catch up with the lessons. They understand that some students need to become more familiar with the coding basics.  

Even if we had 4 instructors within the duration of the class, the class and lesson transition was still done smoothly. They all teach at the same pace and manner, so even if we change instructors, the whole training is still organized. Also, they always give us a heads-up if they need to switch places with a different instructor, which makes the learning process more comfortable and hassle-free.

[Ezekiel] I am thankful to our Instructors for teaching us the coding basics, although it is challenging to teach in a big class. Every time someone lags, they assist the student and check on us by asking if we still have questions and clarifications. All the instructors are friendly, competent, and fun to be around. If I can secure a personal laptop soon, I would like to continue the coding training.

—— What is your message to SHS students who are about to take the same Zuitt training as you did?

[Niel] Take advantage of this opportunity to learn to code because you can use this in your future career – tech industry or not. The world and technology are continuously changing and it is better to upskill to heighten your chances of having a stable career. 

[Ezekiel] To those students who want to take the Free Training with Zuitt, all I can say is do not give up. We have a classmate that backed out during the course because of his personal schedule, but you need patience, enjoy gaining a new learning experience, and do not treat it as a burden. 

—— What is the best part of the training?

[Niel] For me, the whole training is the best part. At first, I was not familiar with coding, but because of the free course, I acquired new knowledge and want to continue learning to be proficient in this skill. Currently, I am working on a passion project which is a note-taking app website since I am quite forgetful, and it can help me keep track of the things I need to do. 

——  In general,  do you have any thoughts about the possibility of employment among SHS graduates? Are you in favor of this opportunity? 

[Niel] As of now, I want to be proficient and gain more hands-on experience learning coding to start working as a developer. I want to practice coding at home, create a basic website, and explore how to build a more detailed website until I execute my passion project.

[Ezekiel] In the meantime, I want to focus my studies in college. I still want to practice coding and build websites as a backup plan.

—— Any projects you would like to start now that you have coding as a skill?

[Ezekiel]I want to create a website where everyone could paste their opinion, answers, or any info regarding a topic and generate summarized contributions.

——  Anything else you would like to share or say to Zuitt?

[Neil] Thank you, Zuitt for the opportunity to learn to code. I am certain that I can utilize all the learnings in the near future.

[Ezekiel] Thank you, Zuitt for teaching us coding and for guiding us along the way. The instructors help all students to understand and follow the lectures.


—— What was your initial reaction when you learned about Zuitt’s partnership with ANS? What was your response when you knew your child was chosen for the program?

[Cherylyn] I felt blessed when I first heard about this partnership because I know that it would be a big help to my daughter’s knowledge of computers. I am thankful and blessed that she got into this Zuitt’s Free Coding Training Program. 

[Romeo] My first reaction was I got excited for my kid. I fully support my child in whatever school activities he has. And I always try to help him out too. When we talked about this opportunity over dinner one time,  I saw how excited he got and how very happy he was. Whatever it is that could help him in his education, anything that is good for his career, I will fully support it.

—— How was your child’s training with Zuitt? 

[Cherylyn] My daughter’s experience in training with Zuitt was okay. It was such a big help for her projects. She mentioned that she was able to learn a lot from Zuitt and that she was able to manage her time well alongside all the other subjects that she has. I am confident with the training Zuitt provided for her. She mentioned that she’s interested in further training if Zuitt offers it. She thinks that it would be beneficial for her because she’s an incoming college student.

——  Any comments about Zuitt instructors from your child?

[Cherylyn] She mentioned that Zuitt instructors were kind and that they gave attention to each and every one in their class. She has no problems with the Zuitt instructors assigned to their class.

—— What is your message to SHS parents who would be experiencing the same opportunity your child had with Zuitt?

[Cherylyn] If your child is given the opportunity, grab it because things like this don’t come often. Learning how to code will be helpful to your kids. Tell them to grab it and make time for it. Encourage your kid to go for it!  

[Romeo] If something will be good for your kid’s welfare, give your 100% support and let them do it! As long as we can support our children, let’s do it. 

Zuitt Coding Bootcamp is open to launching this project with your school too! Interested to partner with Zuitt to elevate your Senior High School STEM track? Drop us a message at amt@zuitt.co and we’d be glad to discuss how we can collaborate.