[7 April 2014] Leading wireless services provider Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is supporting a government-led initiative that aims to create opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship for the millions of out-of-school youth (OSY) in the country.
Leading wireless services provider Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is supporting a government-led initiative that aims to create opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship for the millions of out-of-school youth (OSY) in the country.
Dubbed Abot-Alam, the program is being implemented under the Aquino administration’s Human Development and Poverty Reduction cluster that envisions a Zero OSY Philippines. Spearheaded by the Department of Education (DepEd) and the National Youth Commission (NYC), the program aims to map out all the country’s OSY aged 15-30 and match them with appropriate government or civil society programs so that each of them will have the chance to finish high school, acquire the needed skills to be productive, and be given opportunities to be employed or go into a small business.
“We are proud to be part of this worthy undertaking that aims to reach out to one of the marginalized sectors of the society—the out-of-school youth. By helping these young people gain access to basic education, skills learning and a possible entrepreneurial venture, we support the overarching objective of the government to bring more Filipinos out of poverty,” said Ramon R. Isberto, head of Public Affairs at Smart.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the various government agencies led by the DepEd and NYC, along with civil society and corporate partners, including Smart.
Under the initiative, Smart will provide information, communication and technology (ICT) support to Abot-Alam.
Corporate partners like Smart are also encouraged to find ways to help OSYs through employment and internship opportunities and CSR programs. The government also calls on the corporate sector to ensure that employees who haven’t finished high school be enrolled in the Abot-Alam program, allocate some part of social marketing budget to push for the advocacy, and encourage employees to embrace the advocacy by adopting an OSY and ensuring that he or she is enrolled and completes the program.
Smart has been actively supporting initiatives that are aligned with the government’s development strategy of democratizing access to education. For one, it has utilized mobile technologies not only to enhance the learning experience but also to help give opportunities to students even in the remotest of barangays to learn from the experts via mEducation.
Smart collaborates with DepEd, NYC as well as other partners from government, civil society and the corporate sector to reach out to OSYs and make them productive citizens of this country. In photo during the signing of the MoU are DepEd Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro (3rd from left) and Smart Public Affairs head Ramon R. Isberto (2nd from right). They are joined by, from left, Ms. Cecilia Olfindo of TESDA, Fr. Jerome Marquez of Arnold Janssen Catholic Mission Foundation, Inc., Major General Lysander Suerte of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Fr. Dexter Prudenciano of St. Hannibal Empowerment Center, Inc.