BPOs no way up the ladder for graduates, charge youthBy Kristine Felisse Mangunay
Philippine Daily Inquirer
But for a militant youth organization, it’s a slap in the face.
Anakbayan on Sunday took exception to the government program of training youths in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, saying that the move was “an easy escape” to the question of how to provide quality and accessible education and decent and secure jobs for graduates.
BPO involves the contracting of specific business tasks, such as customer service and call center functions, to a third-party service provider, usually in a third-world country where salaries are low.
Andro Zarate, vice chairman of the progressive national sectoral youth party, told the Inquirer that the inclusion of BPO training in the high school curriculum was also the government’s way of justifying the allocation of inadequate funds for state universities and colleges (SUCs).
Zarate said that inadequate funding for SUCs was the reason militant students disrupted the plenary deliberations on the proposed 2013 national budget in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
The training is now offered at a discount to selected individuals who have completed the Alternative Learning System (ALS), a module-based learning system that forms part of a special curriculum in some educational institutions for Grades 11 and 12 under the K to 12 program.
Earlier, the DepEd said the special curriculum will enable ALS passers to land “high-paying jobs” in the BPO industry.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said that, at present, 11 ALS passers were enrolled in the Services Management Program of Asia Pacific College.
Zarate said because the program aims to transform high school students into “semi-skilled workers,” it sends “the wrong message” that they do not need to go to college to land a job.
In the process, he said, the government was indirectly trying to justify the “insufficient” funds given to SUCs.
For 2013, the government has earmarked P37.1 billion for public universities and colleges, a 44-percent increase over the P26-billion budget this year.
Militant organizations, however, said not all the 110 SUCs in the country will benefit from the increase.
Zarate said that pushing this kind of curriculum may also keep high school students from working toward landing jobs aimed at “nation-building” such as teaching.
The only ones who benefit from this, he said, are the foreign companies.
“We are fast-producing workers for them when our focus should be national industrialization,” he said.