Org: Country should level up training courses on informatics, programming

A NONPROFIT organization (NGO) recently urged the country to produce more talents for future international Informatics competitions, and later prepare them for a bright future in computing technology.

Marte Soliza of the National Olympiad in Informatics Phils. (NOI.PH) told the BusinessMirror that the lack of awareness plays a key factor in the dearth of talents in informatics.

Although some schools have expressed their interest to join the contest, he was informed that their students lack preparation and training.

Soliza said the lack of qualified teachers also has exacerbated the problem. As a result, the nation is facing a “shortage” of qualified teachers articulate on the topic.

He lamented that the “computer” subject in most high schools ends up being totally different from seeing what actual computer scientists and programmers do, and from what is required to participate and excel in informatics meets.

“It ends up being taught very poorly,” the NOI.PH member revealed. “However, there are ways around this problem, such as making students aware that there are excellent free resources online, and that there are organizations such as ours who can guide…and open up opportunities for them. The word just hasn’t gone far yet, and the available resources are not being leveraged.”

Soliza suggested that students should consider taking a career in software engineering, as it is one of the most lucrative industries in the world today: “Aside from economic, there’s the opportunity to be at the forefront of tech: to discover or build something that can uplift the lives of millions, or even billions of people.”

Earlier, Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) director Dr. Josette Biyo remarked at a press briefing that there is an urgent need to popularize programming among Filipino students: “We have to expand the pool to be able to develop a critical mass of skilled programmers to study programming.”

The Philippines was able to join the International Olympiad in Informatics for the first time in 2015, where it won a bronze medal.

“We have been joining every year since then, with at least one medal bagged per competition,” Soliza shared.

Most of NOI.PH’s first members hailed from University of the Philippines-Diliman, where they were part of a club called UP Programming Guild. A few years later they formally established NOI.PH’s as an NGO.

Recently it created “Abakoda:” a more beginner-friendly tilt which opened for registration. The competition is open to all Filipino students, free-of-charge.

NOI.PH currently has a five-year memorandum of agreement with DOST-SEI from 2020 to 2025, where they provide the financial requirements for organizing the annual national contests.

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