The National Service Training Program
In 2002, Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed into law the National Service Training Program (NSTP) Act of 2001, otherwise known as the Republic Act 9163. It is an act establishing the NSTP for tertiary level students amending for the purpose of RA 7077 and PD 1706.
The NSTP aims to enhance civic consciousness and defense preparedness in the youth by developing the spirit of service and patriotism while undergoing training in any of its three program components, namely, Reserve Officer Training Course (ROTC), Literacy Training Service (LTS), and Civic Welfare Training Service (CWTS). CWTS courses focus on student engagement in activities or programs contributory to the general welfare and betterment of life for the members of the community or enhancement of facilities, especially those devoted to improving health, education, environment, entrepreneurship, safety, recreation, and morals of the citizenry (RA 9163, Sec 3(d)).
The UPOU undergraduate student is required to fulfill 6 units of NSTP courses as a to graduate. Since the institution of the Associate in Arts program, students have been able to fulfill this requirement by cross-enrolling in other academic institutions. By putting up its own NSTP program, the UPOU assures the development of its students’ potentials not as an add-on to its academic programs but as an integral aspect in UPOU’s undergraduate education.
This NSTP course was specifically developed with the distance education student in mind. It allows for reflective student involvement in various civic service programs and a means to credit ongoing voluntary engagements and service learning activities. It is premised on the appreciation that civic service may be rendered both in person and virtually, whether to a local community, a sector of society, a service-oriented organization, or an online community.
The members of the UPOU undergraduate student population have several unique characteristics which prompt the university to provide for more flexibility in terms of the fulfillment of the NSTP requirement. Taken together, the UPOU students have great potential to contribute to their communities.
1. Geographic delocalization (with particular emphasis in offshore students who did cannot cross-enrol their NSTP courses),
2. Well-developed computer and written communication skills,
3. Some are members of online communities,
4. Most are employed part-time or full-time,
5. Some are currently engaged in various volunteer organizations.
Given these characteristics, CWTS credits may be given subject to more flexible rules, where flexibility is conceptualized in the following contexts:
1. Flexibility in terms of how the service is rendered. Civic service may be rendered in person or virtually.
2. Flexibility in terms of the community being given service. Civic service may be rendered to a local community, to a sector (through service-oriented sectoral organizations), or to an online community.
3. Flexibility in terms of the context in which the community may be served. Civic service may be done as a member of a volunteer organization, as an individual/group-initiated project, or as a part of a UPOU-organized NSTP activity.
COURSE FOR INSTITUTION
COURSE CODE: CWTS
COURSE TITLE: Civic Welfare Training Service
UNITS: 2 units (may be taken three times)
Citizenship and community service course
The course goals are to explore and promote civic consciousness and citizenship among students by reflective community service.
By the end of the course, the student is able to:
1. Explain the meaning of citizenship and the essence of being a Filipino citizen in the context of personal goals and interests.
2. Experience volunteerism through practical and enriching community service.
3. Document said community service activities online and engage in peer support and evaluation.
4. Present community service experience and lessons learned in an end of term NSTP student conference.
Unit 1. Citizenship
Discussions on citizenship through the lens of self-knowledge, democracy, governance, and the global community. Discussions on student perspective of community service and proper decorum when in the community.
Essay on the meaning of citizenship and the essence of being a Filipino citizen in the context of personal goals and interests
Unit 2. Community service
Pre-enrolment allows the student and NSTP coordinator to agree on the community service to be rendered/credited. During the semester, community service is given and online documentation and reflective blogging is done.
Online documentation and reflective blogging
Peer support and assistance through online and other means of interpersonal interactions.
Unit 3. Presentation of NSTP experiences and lessons learned
10-minute presentation of NSTP experiences in an online, realtime NSTP conference.
Self, peer and community assessment of services given and lessons learned.
Each semester, the UPOU will initiate community service activities for students who are interested and capable of doing said activities. These activities are subject to the requirements of existing UPOU extension projects or partner organizations. However, the student is not limited to these activities and may choose to initiate their own projects or enlist for credit their current volunteer activities. General guidelines regarding certification/crediting through non-UPOU initiated activities (i.e., personal volunteerism and individual/group initiated projects) will be developed.
Partner organizations are well-established government (national or local), non-government, or international institutions with actively maintained official websites. Students may be involved in official projects of such organizations and their involvement be acknowledged in the official websites.
Student-initiated projects must conform to certain rules and must be done in coordination with concerned local governments.
Mechanics for dealing with partner organizations will be developed as need arises.
Alexander, T. 2001. “Citizenship Schools. A Practical Guide to Educations for Citizenship and Personal Development”. Campaign for Learning/UNICEF. London.
Ayala and Bautista. Magkaugnay sa Dagat ng Buhay (Values enshrined in the Filipino Constitution)
Constantino, R. Identity and consciousness : the Philippine experience. Quezon City : Malaya Books, 1974. 69 pp.
The Learning and Skills Network. Make it happen: Effective practice in post-16 citizenship. Accessed online at http://www.post16citizenship.org/makeithappen/ on 3/3/09.
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