Sunday, June 26, 2005

Blueprint for RP’s software industry for breakthrough growth in five years bared


CEBU CITY — Major players of the Philippine information and communications technology (ICT) industry presented a five-year action plan for the local software sector to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo during the recent Cebu ICT Congress 2005 held here at the Cebu Waterfront Hotel.

The Philippine Software Industry Association’s (PSIA) action plan, dubbed "Fly High: Philippine Software 2010," identifies five priority areas for development that will contribute to achieving expansion and accelerated growth of the software industry in the country. These are: Grow domestic demand for software, develop skilled software professionals, increase software exports, reinforce intellectual property compliance and build infrastructure for industry growth.

Funded by Microsoft Philippines and led by the PSIA, the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) and presented by Outsource2Philippines, Inc., the intention of the project was to produce a realistic and practical series of action steps for the country’s software industry that will contribute to President Arroyo’s 10-Point Economic Program.

Under the five areas are 21 specific items recommended for urgent implementation, namely:

- promote software development quality standards- encourage collaboration among domestic software companies- develop and implement a strategic marketing communications program to increase awareness of local software solution developers among SMEs- leverage existing government procurement regulations to strengthen focus on software solutions and stimulate demand- create an incubation program to support startups- extend financial assistance to SMEs investing in software - implement an annual skills inventory and job survey- introduce competency-based training for IT workers- establish a national certification program for IT professionals- extend training of IT professionals to include business education- increase international awareness of the Philippines’ offshore software industry ("Brand Philippines")- promote strategic partnerships with foreign companies (and countries)- address the opportunities presented by "niche market" leadership- create a domestic software IP exchange- develop and implement a broad-based IP campaign- introduce the concept of "Digital Communities"- review prevailing legal status of IP regulations to protect SMEs- build and operate shared development centers- clarify policies on emerging communication technologies- provide financing opportunities to small IT enterprises (SMITEs)- activate the concept of community eCenters (CeCs).

Proponents of the project have also identified quantifiable goals in the action agenda which they tagged with the acronym FLY HIGH, which stands for:

- Fifty software development companies aligned with international quality standards;- Locate operations of 50 foreign-based software companies in the Philippines;- Yes to development of "Brand Philippines";- Hire 100,000 software workers and support improved recruitment, re-tooling, and retention;- Increase intellectual property compliance for software three percent annually;- Government software investment to increase 10 percent annually; and,- Have social and physical infrastructure in place to support industry goals.

Meanwhile, a study on ICT integration readiness of public high school teachers who have access to computers in their schools in terms of technology literacy and usage was also presented at the conference by Microsoft Philippines.

The study conducted by Learn.Ph Foundation among Department of Education teachers and principals nationwide revealed that such educators are shifting their teaching style towards more student-based project learning and encourage the use of technology in their class presentations.

The initial results of the survey further show that while most educators value technology as a teaching tool, both teacher and principal respondents say that they still need to undergo trainings related to integrating technology with teaching and basic computer skills such as using e-mail and the Internet. the survey observed that most teachers learn IT informally or were "self-taught" and recommend formal training.

The survey was conducted among 7,450 public high school teachers and 320 principals in all 16 regions except the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and will be available in July 2005.

Dubbed as "C.E.B.U. ICT 2005: Asia’s Emerging Role as a Global Center for the ICT and IT-Enabled Services," the three-day conference and exhibition was organized by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and sponsored by Innove Communications and Globe Telecom, provided ICT players in Cebu, and the rest of the Philippines, a venue for showcasing their capabilities and competencies to the global ICT industry, and showcased Cebu, and the Philippines in general, as a premier ICT investment, software and e-services hub.

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