Mt. Province college bags Kabalikat award


A COLLEGE in Mountain Province providing low-cost but efficient computer education won this year’s Kabalikat Award for the Institution Category of the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (Tesda).

Established in 1992 in Bontoc by couple Joel and Helen Fagsao to "nurture young people to appreciate the other side of white collar careers," Xijen College of Mountain Province has blossomed into a center of technical-vocational education in the province.

Fagsao, an employee of the Department of Trade and Industry, said he and his wife decided to establish the school despite the odds to ensure that residents have opportunities for livelihood, aside from farming.

"People living in the mountains need not stay backwards in terms of computer education and education," Fagsao said.

At first, only a trickle of college students and professionals came to take computer learning, he said adding that at the time, only one government office had a computer in his hometown.

But through sheer perseverance and determination, the students came, buoyed by Xijen’s low tuition and quality computer education that guarantees jobs after graduation.

Fagsao said most of their students today are TESDA scholars, a product of an agreement inked between the school and the agency, adding that they keep the tuition minimal to better accommodate less-privileged residents of Bontoc.

Over time, the school offered additional courses aside from computer programming, such as technical and secretarial courses.

Tesda director general Joel Villanueva said the agency is very glad of the school’s success.

"World-class companies like Sony, Acer and Samsung employ graduates of Xijen. It is for this distinction that Xijen College of Mountain Province Inc. was chosen as this year’s winner Idol ng TESDA Institution category," he said.

Villanueva said Xijen was the first institution in Mountain Province to have a website and an Internet connection using very small aperture technology (VSAT) that helped narrow the digital divide in the province.

It was also the first school to start a program dubbed "Computer to the Barrios" that reaches out to poor students in the barrios of Bontoc.

It has also launched a subsidy program for children of overseas Filipino workers, who are studying to help them defray the cost of tuition and other fees.

The Kabalikat Awards has three categories, Institution, Local Government Unit and Industry.

The Institution includes Tesda partners from the public/private schools, training institutions, training centers that employ best practices in the promotion and enhancement of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

The local government unit category includes a barangay, municipality/city or provincial unit, office of the congressman or senator and other related local government offices which provide exemplary support and cooperation with Tesda.

The industry category includes industry associations or individual establishments/firms/companies that adhere to best practices in the promotion and enhancement of TVET.

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