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The Philippines’ DICT Supports AI Training for Women

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), through its ICT Industry Development Bureau (IIDB), supports an international tech company’s initiative that provides sponsored (Artificial Intelligence) AI training to women data scientists in the country.

The training is offered free of charge for women who wish to pursue a career in the field of AI. The capacity-building initiative aims to equip more women with fundamental knowledge in AI through various workshops across eight (8) countries.

The initiative seeks to involve more women in the field, especially since data shows that the industry is dominated by men. According to recent research by the World Economic Forum, only 22% of jobs in AI are held by women, with even fewer holding senior roles.

The company providing the free training is a digital technology certification body that aims to equip and empower organisations and sectors with industry-validated certification training and competency exams. Aside from AI, it offers certifications in mobile application development, big data, industry 4.0, artificial intelligence, fintech and digital marketing.

For this initiative, the digital tech certification company is partnering with a multinational tech giant to encourage more women into AI by providing a complimentary 1-day AI hands-on workshop. The programme is offered to women data scientists across the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and Sri Lanka.

The DICT encourages the private sector’s initiatives that aim to empower and upskill the women workforce not only to promote gender equality in the workplace but also to enhance developments in the country’s AI field.

Accordingly, as reported by OpenGov Asia, the Philippine Government crafted an artificial intelligence (AI) roadmap to improve productivity and economic growth as well as transform the country to be more globally competitive.

According to a report, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) shared that an AI task force composed of seven agencies will be drafting the road map.

Aside from the DTI, other members of the AI task force include the Departments of Agriculture, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)

These agencies have previously signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the implementation of the “Filipinnovation” and Entrepreneurship Roadmap, which is meant to build regional inclusive innovations centres (RIICs) across the country.

Additionally, the government will also receive help from the Asian Institute of Management (AIM); the USAID through its Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for Development; and state universities, research institutions, and members of the industry.

The importance of shifting towards new technology was emphasised as this will make the manufacturing industry more efficient and scalable to leapfrog to industrial development. There is a great need for it as the country’s industrialisation is lagging. The need to embrace new technologies, encourage innovation, research and development (R&D) and provide support for start-ups are important for these will help improve productivity and competitiveness.

However, there is still a need to reskill the workforce, which can be achieved by improving the country’s education system, the ease of doing business, and the building infrastructures. This is possible by improving the education and training systems, which would deliver the necessary skills required in the digital economy. The focus should be given to developing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. An ‘A’ can be added to the equation, which can stand for agriculture and the arts, thereby producing STEAM.

There is a need for concerted efforts to guarantee that the shift towards the new digital economy or Industry 4.0 will not leave anyone behind.

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