Senior high experiment: The case of QC's Roces school
MANILA, Philippines – Over 1,000 high school students of Don Alejandro Roces Sr Science and Technology High School returned to school on Monday, June 1.
The technical-vocational school in Quezon City is one of the education department's model schools for K to 12's senior high school.
It has piloted since 2012 two tech-voc specializations for grades 11 and 12: automative technology, and hospitality and tourism.
It is one of the pilot schools of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Project for Supporting Senior High School Modeling in Selected Technical Vocational High School.
Roces has been offering tech-voc skills to high school students since 1951, but according to principal Eladio Escolano, 80% of his graduates still pursue higher education after acquiring certifiable skills.
But running a tech-voc school is no easy feat – not even for a school with 64 years of experience.
"We are mobilizing, using our networking to get support. Hindi lalapit ang stakeholders mo; ikaw ang lalapit dun. You go to the Chamber of Furniture Industries of the Philippines, DTI, local government units – idepensa mo 'yung project mo. You go to JICA – idepensa mo yung project mo. 'Pag nakumbinse mo 'yan, tutulungan ka," Escolano told Rappler.
(We are mobilizing, using our networking to get support. Your stakeholders won't go to you; you will go to them. You go to the Chamber of Furniture Industries of the Philippines, DTI, local government units – defend your project. You go to JICA – defend your project. When you convince them, they will help you.)
For Escolano, who was also a tech-voc graduate, what makes all the effort worthwhile is seeing the kids get jobs after high school.
"Lahat kami nagtatrabaho rito, at nakakapagod lang, pero worthwhile kasi 'yung bata may trabaho. Yung bata lang na dati nagtitinda ng balut – 'di ko naman minemenos ang pagbabalut – ngayon ay nasa KFC, nasa Jollibee at kung anu-ano pa," he explained.
(We all work hard, and it's tiring, but worthwhile because the child gets a job. The child who used to sell balut – and I don't mean to belittle selling balut – is now at KFC, Jollibee, and other places.)
"Sa akin malaking bagay na 'yun, 'yung magkaroon lang sila ng self-esteem, tumaas self-confidence nila. Ibang-iba na magsalita 'yung bata, tumayo, at natutong mangarap sa buhay. Importante 'yun."
(For me, it's already a big deal for the children to just have a self-esteem, to have better self-confidence. The child already speaks differently, stands differently, and has already learned to dream in life. That's important)
At least 1.2 million public school students will enter senior high school's grade 11 in 2016, and most of them are expected to take either the academic track (609,000 students) or the tech-voc track (596,000 students).
Escolano said the 4,553 senior high schools that will offer tech-voc must be prepared for the high cost of equipment.
They should also hire qualified teachers, build strong partnerships with the business sector, and offer strands that are "relevant" and will answer the needs of students.
"'Pag-graduate ko ba may trabaho ba ako? 'Pag-graduate ko ba makakapag-aral ako? 'Pag-graduate ko ba makakapag-negosyo ako?' Dapat ganun. Para mai-offer mo 'yun, i-scan mo 'yung environment. 'Ito ba'y may papasukan?"
(Will I have a job after I graduate? Can I study after I graduate? Can I go into business after I graduate?' You have to think that way. To offer a strand, scan your environment. Will this student be employed?)
Roces is located near the bustling Tomas Morato area in Quezon City, where different restaurants are lined up. The school has a building called State of the Art, where students can learn hotel and restaurant services – perfect for the industry near the school.
Another best practice of the school, according to Escolano, is to "monetize" passion.
"'Yung passion namin, dapat namo-monetize namin. For example, garments, 'pag nagpaputol ka sa akin ng pantalon, sisingilin kita. 'Pag pinabaston mo yan, sisingilin kita. Hindi p'wedeng puro libre. This is business."
(We have to be able to monetize our passion. For example, garments, If you have your pants hemmed, I'll charge you for it. You can't always have it for free. This is business.) – Rappler.com