ERDA Tech bags Samsung Hope award
() - December 7, 2005 - 12:00am
A skills development project for disadvantaged children and youth in Metro Manila called "E.T. Goes I.T." caught the attention and interest of national and regional judging committees in this year’s Samsung DigitAll Hope award. The project, as proposed by ERDA Tech, aims to bridge the digital divide and enable the youth from marginalized communities to have equal access to opportunities in a developing urban community.

The Educational Research and Development Assistance Foundation, Inc. was founded in September 1974, starting with six beneficiaries. ERDA Tech, is a non-stock, non-profit educational institution that provide poor families the opportunity to see their children finish a high school education and at the same time learn an employable skill.

The founder and guiding spirit behind ERDA Foundation is Fr. Pierre T. Tritz, a French-born naturalized Filipino Jesuit whose vision was to put up a center that would make available innovative and quality education and training to children from marginalized members of society.

In June 1999, ERDA Tech was granted by the DECS its Permit and Recognition for secondary courses, and in April 2000, it was issued the TESDA Certificate of Accreditation as a cooperating educational/training institution under the Dual Training System (DTS) for ten technical programs.

"We have graduated over 600 high school students in the last ten years," said ERDA Tech administrator Wilhelmina Martinez. "Our graduates receive both a high school diploma and a skills proficiency certificate."

According to Fr. Tritz, a study on the school drop-out problem in the Philippines published by the Bureau of Public Schools in 1965 prompted him to pursue what became to be the passion of his life, which was to help the poor but deserving Filipino children have access to education.

"Education is our greatest asset as individuals to have access to a brighter future," stressed Fr. Tritz.

At age 91, he takes pride in seeing ERDA Tech graduates get on with their lives with confidence, assured of stable future up ahead. ERDA Foundation is the realization of Fr. Tritz’s dream and may well be the source of his continued strength and good health.

Still, the drop-out problem in the country has continued to persist 40 years since Fr. Tritz first noted it to be a serious concern.

A recent study made by the Asian Development Bank showed that although 99 percent of Filipino children get enrolled in grade school, only 68 percent of actually manage to complete the six-year course.

Poverty is the core of the problem, as another study, this time by the World Bank, indicated that a major reason for pupil dropout is inability of parents to meet the hidden cost of education such as school supplies, uniforms, bags, shoes and school allowance.

The study showed many pupils leave school when their parents can no longer afford to pay for these hidden costs.

Following Fr. Tritz’s vision, ERDA Foundation took the initiative in providing a solution to this concern for school dropouts by opting to have education as its flagship program.

ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK BUREAU OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS CERTIFICATE OF ACCREDITATION DUAL TRAINING SYSTEM EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE FOUNDATION ERDA FILIPINO JESUIT FOLLOWING FR SCHOOL TRITZ
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