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Sparta to produce 30,000 graduates on data science by 2022

PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico C. Paringit (from left), DAP President and CEO Atty. Engelbert C. Caronan Jr., PCIEERD’s Ermie M. Bacarra, Science Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña and Sparta Program Lead Dominic Vincent D. Ligot

Around 30,000 graduates on data science and analytics through online courses will be produced within three years.

This will be made possible through the Project Smarter Philippines through Data Analytics R&D, Training and Adoption (Sparta) that was launched by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) in partnership with Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) at a recent news conference in Makati City.

The courses will be aligned to the challenges of specific localities and to certain national issues.

This project will not only equip the students with knowledge and skills in data science and analytics, but will also train them and make them aware that this area of study exists and will be of great help in nation-building. 

The DAP, together with its partners Analytics Association of the Philippines and Coursebank, will jointly develop and launch localized massive online courses on data science, analytics and related fields, the project said in a news release.

“In 1992, I was a scholar of DOST at a university in Michigan. I studied signal processing, and part of our work was AI [artificial intelligence]. When I came back in 1997, I taught many students on signal processing and AI, but there was no job for them. They ended up going abroad,” DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara was quoted by the Philippines News Agency (PNA) at the project launching.

She said the DOST is developing human resources through Sparta which was designed to retain the trainees in the Philippines.

Guevara noted that people use data every day—to move around traffic, to order food or clothes online, among many others.

DOST-PCIEERD Director Enrico Paringit emphasized that AI aims to develop smart solutions to the challenges that various industries are facing. These industries include the health and education sectors, information technology and business process outsourcing, the PNA said.

Data science, on the other hand, will provide opportunities for innovation, he added.

Science Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña said the DOST has allotted P50.84 million for the project that would run for three years, according to the PNA.

He added that DAP was tasked to choose the trainees.

De la Peña said he was told that priority would be given to those working in the BPO sector, government workers who use data analytics in their jobs and academe.

“This program intends to create 30,000 data scientists,” he reiterated. De la Peña continued, “Data can fast-track Philippine growth, in every aspect. In the ease of doing business, for instance, we could do many things using data.”

Research shows a foreseen demand of data science and analytics workers in the Philippines both for local and global markets in the coming years.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation projects that 340,880 data science and analytics workers will be needed in the Philippines alone by 2022.

There is also a pressing need for data-driven modes of decision-making in all sectors when it comes to creating, and implementing policies and strategies.

Countries might consider data science as common and something that everybody is familiar with. But not in the Philippines.

It is starting to spread in the country and getting introduced through different courses and programs, but it is still not yet at its peak.

Some sectors in the country are currently engaging in this field but there is still a lack of graduates and professionals with such specialization.

That is why the need for the Project Sparta that aims to establish the necessary online education, research and development mechanisms and infrastructure to develop the industry of data science and analytics, and to mainstream it in both private and public sectors.

The DAP is expected to train and produce 30,000 graduates on various learning pathways in the field of data science and analytics.

Those interested to undergo the training must first create an account at www.coursebank.ph.

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