The Colombo Plan Staff College (CPSC), in collaboration with the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco, Philippines, conducted two back-to-back Customized Programs on Enhancing Quality of TVET Graduates through User-Centered Problem-Solving Method (Design Thinking); and Exploring Research in TVET: Design and Development. These programs were held from June 17 to 22, 2024 at the CPSC Headquarters in Manila, Philippines, and was joined by 21 teaching and non-teaching staff from five Don Bosco TVET Centers across the country.

Under the supervision of Prof. G.L.D. Wickramasinghe, CPSC Director General together with Program Coordinators Dr. Kesavan Ulaganathen, CPSC Governing Board-Engaged Faculty Consultant; and Prof. Romulita C. Alto, EdD, CPSC Project-Based Faculty Consultant, the programs were crafted for the participants to get exposed to the process of Design Thinking, learn about problem-solving strategies, and develop basic skills in conducting research in TVET.

Prof. G.L.D. Wickramasinghe, CPSC Director General (left) and Sr. Aurora Roble (right) inaugurate the program through their welcome remarks

The six-day program was inaugurated on June 17, 2024. During the opening ceremony, the participants and the resource speakers from Malaysia, as well as the CPSC staff exchanged welcome greetings and self-introductions. This was followed by the opening remarks of Prof. Wickramasinghe where he gave a brief background about the covered topics and highlighted its potential contributions to the participating TVET institutions. Likewise, Sr. Aurora Roble, Head of the Participants, extended her appreciation to CPSC and Don Bosco for arranging the programs as customized to the needs of Don Bosco centers.

Group photo of the participants together with CPSC Faculty and resource speakers of the program

Program on Design Thinking

Participants during the sessions and workshops on Design Thinking

Shortly after the opening ceremony, the program on Design Thinking started with a session titled Introduction to Design Thinking. The following sessions focused on the five-step process of Design Thinking, which were discussed by Dr. Prasanna Kesavan, a Master Trainer for Design Thinking and Conceive-Design, –Innovate, –Operate (CDIO) in Malaysian polytechnics; Dr. Noreen Kamarudin, Principal Lecturer at the Centre of Research & Innovation in Politeknik Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah (PSA), Malaysia.; and Dr. Nor Haniza Mohamad, Chairperson of Teaching and Learning Committee at Politeknik Ibrahim Sultan (PIS), Malaysia. Their sessions for every process were followed by workshops and sharing of outputs with other group participants.

MFI welcomes the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco participants during the institutional visit

To supplement the discussions, an institutional visit was conducted at the MFI Polytechnic Institute Inc., a non-profit foundation based in Pasig City, Philippines. The participants were welcomed by Mr. Noel Dumaguit, MFI Vice President, and Ms. Angelica Anne Magabo, MFI Executive Secretary, together with Mr. Winston R. Mendoza I, Campus Director; Mr. Edmund Dy Guaso, ITD Senior Manager; and Ms. Afril Teves, Senior High School Principal. The participants toured the facility and were able to observe an ongoing class session. The visit served as an avenue for the participants to practice their inquiry skills that they acquired from one of the processes of Design Thinking.

Prof. Wickramasinghe, Sr. Roble and Dr. Kesavan Ulaganathen confer the Certificates of Appreciation to Dr. Prasanna Kesavan (left), Dr. Noreen Kamarudin (middle), and Dr. Nor Haniza Mohamad (right) for facilitating the sessions on Design Thinking

Furthermore, the participants presented their prototypes after the sessions and workshops on June 19, 2024. The program on Design Thinking concluded with the awarding of certificates to the resource speakers.

Program on Research in TVET

Prof. Wickramasinghe presents his special lecture on the Importance and Impact of Research in TVET

The Customized Program on Exploring Research in TVET: Design and Development was implemented from June 20 to 22, 2024. The first session was steered by Prof. Wickramasinghe where he presented a special lecture titled, Importance and Impact of Research in TVET.

Dr. Kesavan (top left) along with Mr. Paulo Anthony Mendoza, Research, Publications, and Information Division (RPID) Officer of CPSC (top right), and Prof. Romulita C. Alto, EdD, CPSC Project-Based Faculty Consultant (bottom) give their lectures about Research in TVET

The succeeding sessions were facilitated by Dr. Kesavan, Prof. Alto, and Mr. Paulo Anthony Mendoza, Research, Publications, and Information Division (RPID) Officer of CPSC. Their sessions revolved around the fundamental processes of research and crafting of a research proposal. Aside from the sessions, there were also workshops provided for the participants to help them materialize their learnings into outputs.

Group photo during the closing ceremony

The training program was able to deliver its purpose to the participants by the end of the week. During the closing ceremony, Sister Ailyn Cayanan from Mary Our Help Technology Institute for Women (Pampanga) Inc, assured that the programs left a positive impact on the Salesian Sisters, including the teaching and non-teaching staff. She also thanked CPSC for organizing two programs that helped them enrich their knowledge on Design Thinking and Research in TVET. Moreover, Sister Aurora affirmed in her special remarks that the objectives of the program turned into a reality, hoping that the learnings acquired from the program will reflect into their respective TVET centers. The Vote of Thanks was imparted by both Prof. Alto and Dr. Kesavan. In their messages, Prof. Alto and Dr. Kesavan expressed their gratitude towards the participants, the program management, and the CPSC staff.