P27.3M ADB grant to fuel BPO sector’s growthBy Ronnel W. Domingo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has extended a grant of $650,000 (P27.3 million) to the Philippines to help sustain the continued growth of its business process outsourcing sector, one of the country’s top dollar-earning industries.
The grant was formalized Wednesday with the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the ADB and the Department of Finance (DoF) at the opening day of the four-day 45th ADB Governors’ meeting.
Through this three-year program, it is hoped that more college graduates will have skills that industry players need through the establishment of “a replicable and sustainable model of (a) knowledge hub for improved teaching and learning of (a) BPO industry-based curriculum.”
Under the MOA, at least three hubs will be established—one each in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The hubs will provide “online training” to teachers and “digitized learning modules and study guides” for students.
Based on the MOA’s text, the BPO sector is recognized as the fastest-growing source of jobs and revenue for the country.
According to the DoF, BPO revenues have consistently shown double-digit growth rates in the past decade, with earnings for 2011 increasing 24 percent to about $11 billion. At the same time, there were 638,000 people holding full-time jobs in the industry.
“In 2010, the country surpassed India in terms of voice-related outsourced work to become the global leader in this area,” the MOA said. “The industry is now moving up the value chain from voice-based services toward knowledge-based activities.”
With the BPO sector in the list of the Aquino administration’s priority areas, the government wants to help bring up industry revenue to $25 billion by 2016, mainly through the promotion of higher-value BPO services.
The grant is expected to benefit at least 900 faculty members and 3,000 college-level students from institutions that will be chosen to participate.
Also, the program will provide funding for a “standard industry-based” instrument and “assessment tools” that will measure student and teacher competencies and progress while disparate BPO courses that are currently available will be accredited and integrated.
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