THERE IS HOPE in education that no matter what your age, background, or challenge in life may be, it has the capability to transform lives and bring out the best in an individual. This is the case in Southville International School and Colleges (SISC). Its main campus in Las Pinas is filled with students aiming to be educated under its internationally-benchmarked curriculum.
The school is recognized as one of the top learning institutions in the south of Metro Manila, and is known for its global educational system that puts emphasis on key subjects such as entrepreneurship, investment, foreign languages, technology, and ethics. Because of this enviable position, the school is mostly attended by students belonging to society’s upper strata.
Despite this success, for almost 20 years, Southville has also been reaching out underprivileged yet deserving students who wish to make a difference in their lives via the school’s Social, Educational, and Environmental Development program or SEED Academy.
For a better future
SEED started out as one of the corporate social responsibility projects of Southville, which later turned into a strong academic program which produced competent and productive members of society — many of whom were absorbed into the school’s workforce after graduation.
“SEED is a highly competitive evening educational institution that offers Information Technology courses for college and Vocational Technology for Senior High School. Since 1999, it has helped numerous financially-challenged students land decent jobs because of the unique training given to them through the institution’s specially-designed academic program,” said Jocelyn Tizon, SISC executive vice president.
The program began with the goal of helping the financially challenged yet academically deserving high school students within the Las Pinas and Paranaque areas. The school would later on partner with the Sisters of Mary Schools (located in Silang, Cavite and Metro Cebu), who would nominate deserving students who can enroll in the program.
“In Las Pinas and Paranaque, we saw the disparity of our campus and its surrounding communities, so we thought of a way wherein we can help and reach out to other students, and eventually their families, through the use of our facilities in the evening.” The program was spearheaded by SISC founder, and chief executive mentor, Dr. Genevieve Ledesma-Tan.
The SISC chief executive mentor was inspired to start SEED Academy when she had encounters with intelligent and highly capable high school students who could not fulfill their dreams due to financial difficulties. It was then that the SISC community, as well as various partners, came together to share resources to support the program.
What resulted was a two-year course that offered the following program through SEED’s evening classes: Associate Degree in Information Systems Technology, Associate Degree in Information Systems Management, and Senior High School Track for Tech Vocation.
Here, students are taught Computer Programming, Web Designing, Database Administration, Data Analysis, Graphics Designing, and Video Editing, among others. Aside from technical IT content, SEED ensures that the students graduate with proper values. Subjects such as Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Relations, Values Development, Cross Cultural Education and Urbanity, Technopreneurship, Leadership, and English Communication skills.
After two years, students may opt to continue a Bachelor’s Degree under the regular college program of Southville. They also have the opportunity to become Microsoft Certified Specialists.
“We focus a lot on IT skills and education, because Southville believes that this is the way of the future. Our curriculum has ensured that many of our beneficiaries are prepared for how the world works. This has resulted to high employability of SEED students,” said Tizon.
SEED full scholars are also given board and lodging, as well as weekly allowances to provide for their personal needs. Qualified students are also given full scholarship for their two-year bachelor course after graduating from SEED.
The Southville Methodology
What makes the program truly unique and successful is the use of Southville’s outcome-based learning to equip students with the correct skills to make them globally competitive.
Many of the SEED students also work as paid interns of the school — working regularly from 8 a.m. to 4 .p.m., before preparing for their 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. classes in SEED.
“Paid internship at Southville is offered to students who wish to earn their allowance. This gives them the opportunity to immediately practice what they learn and, make them highly skilled and readily employable. Full time SEED student interns are given regular allowances and are provided dormitory,” she explained.
“SEED Academy has about 90% employment rate. The rest of the graduates pursue a bachelor’s degree. Further, Southville has a network of seven schools through Southville Global Education Network, and several graduates are absorbed by the SGEN Schools for them to earn a living and uplift their way of life,” Tizon said.
Not just for the students
The beauty of the SEED Academy is that the program doesn’t just change the lives of its students — it also gave new meaning to most of their teachers who have volunteered to teach in the curriculum.
All the faculty members are well-trained teachers and administrative staff of SISC who are experts in their own fields. All of them have made it their goal to give back the community as their CSR initiative.
“Teachers and staff volunteered to teach at night for a minimal fee, employees committed regular salary deduction to financially support a student and generous partners were brought in so more and more students can be supported. The school has used all possible resources and facilities to support the program. We have proven to manage it well as SEED has become a sustainable part of the Southville community.”
According to Tizon, the experience gave teachers new meaning and passion in their profession.
“Although the Southville students have impacted the lives of our teachers, teaching the SEED students also gave them a new-found respect for what they do. They do it because they themselves also feel inspired at the sacrifices and drive our SEED students show to finish their education. It is a life-changing journey for all of us.”
To know more about SEED, visit www.seedacademy.edu.ph.