Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Zambo Schools To Teach Spanish, Arabic, English Languages In 2007

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Darwin Wee / 25 Apr) At least 10 private universities and colleges here are expected to open up short courses on conversational English, Spanish and Arabic in the next school year which aims to increase the competency of would-be calling agents in Zamboanga Peninsula.
Roberto R. Braga, regional director of the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA), said the 10 identified private universities and colleges signified their interest to open up elective or additional courses after the launching of the President Gloria Arroyo's special scholarship programs for prospective call center agents and the "near hires" or job applicants who fell short of hiring standards of call centers.
The 10 identified private schools will be the official government's partner training institutions in an effort to so sustain the country's cyber services sector as an engine for job creation and economic growth.
“The partner schools are now preparing to secure permit form our office and from the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) for proper accreditations," he said during the annual strategic meeting of the Regional Information Technology and E-Commerce Committee here on Tuesday.
Braga said the number of partner schools would eventually increase, as the demand for calling center agents is high. “As long as the schools pass the TESDA's and BPAP's requirements such as the faculty qualification, materials for instruction and facilities, they will be allowed to operate."
He said under the government's Training for Work Coupon which was launched early this month, TESDA is to distribute "work coupons" or scholarships training certificates for applicants which will be sourced from the P500 million donation made by President Gloria Arroyo for 100,000 scholars nationwide for this year.
"After distributing the work coupons, applicants can now avail free trainings from accredited partner schools," he said.
He said Zamboanga Peninsula do not have a formal training school that is specifically for calling centers. “Currently there are onlytwo private institutions in Zamboanga City that offer training for cyber services. However, they are more geared for medical transcriptions," he said.

Braga said most of the accredited schools are to teach Spanish and Arabic languages, and English.
"Feasibility studies show that the locals can easily catch up with the Spanish language because of their Chavacano dialect, which comes from Spanish. Partner schools are also looking at teaching Arabic language to cater to clients from Middle East countries and this is also because many of our Muslim brothers in Zamboanga City know how to speak and read Arabic," he said.
He said partner schools would eventually engage in training ondata processing, software development, and digital animation, medical and legal transcription.
Councilor Juan Elago, chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology, said he would file soon a resolution urging all local private and public universities to avail elective trainings in the languages particularly Spanish and Arabic.
The courses would be intended to fill the demand for competent calling agents.
With 105 company players and total workforce of 70,000 to date, call centers account for 80% of the estimated $2 billion IT (information technology)-enabled industry.

For this year, alone, this sector needs to hire at least 30,000 agents. In the call center sector, the hiring rate is between 2% to 5%, meaning for every 100 applicants, only two to five persons are hired.
Applicants who have 6% to 10% passing rates are considered "near-hires." By 2010, the business process outsourcing industry is expected to generate 1.2 million jobs from present 336,000 jobs.
Call centers will remain the largest employer in the next five years, accounting for 431,000 jobs out of the total 1.2 million for the BPO sector. Back office, medical transcription and digital content follow with 342,000, 69,000 and 46,000 jobs, respectively.

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