Context: The advent of internet technology in the new millennium brought a new wave of data processing and information in faster and different ways. In the Philippines, internet usage is growing. As of June 2016, Internet World Statistics records 52.6 per cent of the population as internet users.
The Barangay Computer Literacy Program (BCLP) was launched on 19 April 1999 in selected barangays (districts) in Pasig City. A total of 19 out of 30 barangays are currently active implementers of BCLP. It was originally designed by former councillor and current Mayor of Pasig City Robert “Bobby” Eusebio, to help public elementary teachers, government officials and national employees to learn basic computer skills for free.
Implementation of programme/initiative: The programme is run and funded by the City Government of Pasig, under the supervision of Alternative Learning System (ALS) instructional managers and BCLP computer instructors. Its main objective is to improve computer literacy among the residents of Pasig and to give equal opportunities to the marginalized population of the city.
The programme runs on a trimester calendar and classes are held for two hours daily, Monday to Friday.
Each trimester has three levels:
- Level 1: Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Computer Concepts
- Level 2: Photo and Graphics Enhancement Program
- Level 3: Internet Essentials and Basic Web Page Design
In selected barangays, further training is provided for those who want to pursue a course on PC troubleshooting (hardware servicing).
Main challenges: As access to technology spreads, the objectives and initiatives of the programme have been challenged since it faces shrinking numbers of enrolees each semester. Additionally, inconsistency with participant attendance affects the budget and number of graduates per year since not all participants have completed the required number of hours and lessons to complete the programme.
Results achieved: Records supplied by the Pasig City’s Barangay Affairs Office report a total of 24,536 graduates who completed levels 1 to 3 from 1999 to May 2016. The majority, or 60 per cent of the participants, are aged between 16 to 30, and most of them, or 70 per cent, are unemployed. The administrators and instructors continuously receive positive feedback from beneficiaries, who express their gratitude at having been employed because of the skills gained from the programme.
Moving Forward: The City Government of Pasig aims to collaborate with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to encourage participants to finish the programme by awarding certificates of completion. Additionally, BCLP is looking forward to partnering with private sector actors who are willing to engage graduates in employment.
Replicability: Since 1992, BCLP has helped hundreds of thousands of students, employed and unemployed, to learn basic to advanced computer skills for free. Between 1995 and 2016, there were a total of 24,536 beneficiaries of the programme. Considered as a school-to-work transition programme, BCLP helps beneficiaries to enhance, improve and develop computer skills, enabling them to compete in the digital world. BCLP is available in Pasig and for Pasig residents only. Neighbouring communities may adopt and implement the programme to give equal opportunities and training to those who cannot afford private computer lessons.
Interview, Joselito Comsti, OIC BCLP
Date: October 11, 2017