Sunday, March 19, 2006

IT course turns women into computer pros

By Tina G. Santos - Inquirer

FROM computer-illiterate to computer-savvy.

Many housewives in Sta. Mesa, Manila, still remember the time when they did not even know how to insert a diskette into the computer.

But after completing a computer literacy course, they now wear confident smiles as they sit in front of a computer, punching keys and executing commands like pros.

The women were among the beneficiaries of a program initiated by Councilor Dennis Lacuna of the city’s sixth district.

Recognizing the importance of computer skills to gain employment, Lacuna put up a computer center in Bacood, Sta. Mesa, to teach residents about information technology systems.

“The project is especially significant in this information-driven age where technological know-how is almost always not just a preference, but a requirement,” the councilor said.

He added that since offering the program early this month, the center has been deluged by students.

The councilor said he was surprised to find out that many of those who had registered, aside from teenagers and out-of-school youth, were adults, mostly working parents between 30 and 40 years old.

“These are people who did not have any computer classes when they were still in school,” he said.

The computer center has 14 brand-new computers and uses the syllabus of the Informatics computer school. The center offers basic and advanced computer courses, including training in applications such as word processor Microsoft Word; virtual drawing tool Paint; the spreadsheet calculation program Excel; and office presentation maker, PowerPoint.

Students are also taught how to use the Internet.

The computer course takes 45 days, with students attending one-hour classes from Monday to Friday. Six classes are held daily. There are currently 70 students enrolled.

Lacuna said they intend to add more classes to accommodate more residents.

He is also considering giving free computer lessons to barangay officials in the area as well as members of the Manila Police District, specifically those assigned at the Sta. Mesa police station.

Lacuna, who believes that computer literacy gives one an option and an edge, said that the newly-acquired skills would hopefully help improve the lives of his constituents.

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