Applied Academics for Excellence, which we call APEX for short, is one of the flagship projects of SEAMEO INNOTECH for several years now. The project was conceived to respond to the common problems of young people finishing their secondary education: many are not adequately equipped to deal with the rigors of further education, or they are pressured to take on employment but don’t have enough skills for jobs.
APEX gives the youth a set of skills for the workplace or for starting their own enterprise so they could address the pressure of short- and long-term economic needs. In addition, they gain self-confidence, communication skills, and an appreciation of their civic responsibilities, all contributing to their well-rounded development as productive members of the community.
The project profits from its being community-based. the local government takes the all-too important role of providing resources for the project, local businesses, inform implementers about high-potential competencies that are required by the current workplace, and parents support and participate in in-school and out-of-school learning activities of their children. All efforts are directed at the community’s development needs and goals.
Continuing from the previous issue of the Journal, we let you hear the voices of the people who have been through it all. There is a lot of overjoyed feedback from students, enthusiastic support from local government officials, and happy reports from teachers who “have seen nothing like it before.” From one APEX school to the next, students are coming out of their shells, boosting their self-confidence as they deal with various members of the community, getting bright-eyed and upbeat about their future. Teachers have reformed their ways of instilling academic content in their students. Everything has been about connections-how they anchor every bit of hard knowledge to the seemingly mundane details of the world where their students live. It is when the students see how the patch connects to the quilt that they make sense of the whole handwork.