22 December 2014

Computer app helps Subic students learn BPO English

Students from various colleges in Subic Bay Freeport area are now benefitting from LEAP, a computer application software designed to address the English proficiency of Filipinos to meet the demand of the growing business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in the country.

LEAP, which stands for Learning English Application for Pinoys, was introduced here last September by the University of the Philippines (UP) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to several local colleges and had since earned raves from student-beneficiaries.

Royce Vincent Palo, a Customs Administrations major at the Lyceum of Subic Bay (LSB) said that he is very grateful to become one of the first LEAP trainees.

“It’s a great program wherein fun and learning, which normally don't come together, have been successfully combined,” noted Palo.

“The program encourages us to recall our past lessons, many of which have long been forgotten, and while it still has some glitches, it was very effective,” he added.

Jenny Ching, another LSB student tutored under the program, also praised the LEAP project, describing it as “very helpful for Filipinos who cannot speak English well, especially for those preparing for job interviews.”

The LEAP program is stand-alone computer application software, which gives tests and lessons to students to improve their communication skills. This includes grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, which are considered as major deficiencies for most Filipinos.

The program is composed of English training modules that run for a total of 200 hours. Participants here took lessons every Saturday and completed the course last December 13.

LEAP was developed by the UP Diliman’s Engineering Department, Department of English and Comparative Literature, Department of Arts and Letters, and the Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts. The program was funded by the DOST and was launched in July 2014.

Last September, UP and DOST introduced LEAP to students at the Lyceum of Subic Bay, Columban College, Mondriaan Aura College, Subic Bay College, and Gordon College.

Students who joined the program took pre-tests to assess their basic English skills before using the application under the supervision of UP representatives.

Last Monday, UP and DOST officials returned to conduct a post-program assessment to gauge the effectiveness of the program, as well as to listen to the evaluation by the program participants.

Data from the participants, including comments on perceived flaws in the computer application, will be used for further development of the application software, UP officials said.

The program organizers also expressed gratitude to the students who participated in the program, particularly for their comments and suggestions to help improve the LEAP software.

Meanwhile, SBMA Labor Department head Severo Pastor, who attended the program assessment with SBMA Deputy Administrator for Legal Affairs Randy Escolango, thanked UP and DOST for bringing the LEAP program to Subic, pointing out that it would also benefit Subic’s growing BPO industry.

Pastor said that SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia has been eyeing to develop Subic Bay Freeport as a BPO center to cash in on the growing proficiency of local information technology workers.

Pastor said the LEAP program would help students and workers in the IT sector here to further enhance their capabilities and market their skills. (YCM/MPD-SBMA)