For the past ten years since its promulgation into law, the National Service Training Program (NSTP) has become a concrete venue of en masse social formation implemented by the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) through the Social Involvement Coordinating Office (SICO). This government-mandated program (an offshoot of the amendment to the AFP Reservist Act, a.k.a. the Republic Act 7077), created and enacted into law under RA 9163 in 2002, has since been adopted by SICO to bolster the social formation program of the university, particularly among sophomores. As ADDU’s social implementing arm, SICO has since administered the program to provide avenues for students and faculty to engage in concrete social involvement activities complementing the university’s two other equally important thrusts of academic excellence and spiritual formation.
Since ADDU only implements the Civic Welfare Training Service (CWTS), one of the three components of NSTP, SICO has appropriated a curriculum for NSTP-CWTS which capitalizes on the common and general modules as specified in the law (modified since 2009), and complemented it with a strand of formation which bears the distinct character of ADDU’s social formation thrust. As such, ADDU’s NSTP-CWTS two course packs feature the general framework of citizenship encompassing the following sub-themes such as drug education, disaster risk reduction and management awareness, environmental protection, values development, leadership training, community exposure, needs assessment, service, and program evaluation, among others. This is further enhanced and enriched by distinct thematic modules embodying the social thrust of the Society of Jesus, as articulated in several Jesuit documents from GC 32 to GC 35, the strategic directions of the Society of Jesus Social Apostolate (SJSA), and the compendium of the Catholic social doctrine. This complementation has certainly created a distinctly “Ateneo” and/or “Jesuit” brand of social formation, particularly in formation of leaders, aligned with the university’s vision and mission statements, both the previous and the recent.
This year 2012 marks ADDU’s 10th year implementing NSTP. Hence, the past decade has certainly borne fruit in terms of marking the program’s successes and its many challenges, its reach and scope of implementation, its partnerships forged with several communities (either faith-based, institutions, academe, etc.), with local government units (LGUs) and government agencies in Davao City and beyond, as well as its impact into the lives of various stakeholders, both internal and external. The past decade has also witnessed the program’s developmental track in the way it harmonized the teaching of citizenship into the formative strand of social formation using the lens of ADDU’s social thrust. It has also seen the tremendous outpouring of interests not only in social consciousness building among students and faculty, but more importantly in empowering the number of communities being served by the program’s various services and projects implemented through the years.
Dr. Maria Teresa B. Isidor, the current CWTS coordinator, concurs that, “The NSTP for Ateneo de Davao University has opted to enhance the framework of this program to include not just raising civic consciousness through experienced-based engagement, but by also aligning it to the social thrust of the university. So for ADDU, NSTP is designed as a venue for social formation.” Mr. Ian Clark Parcon, the then-SICO and NSTP director, further shares that, ”The challenges of the program are two-fold. While is it formative in the sense that it provides formation for both faculty and students in the social dimension, it is also a venue for social formation that is community-based so that it can have a better impact.” Current SICO and NSTP director, Ms. Lilibeth Leh Arcena, reflects that the trajectory of ADDU NSTP program in the next ten years is to continue reading the signs of the times, and to be more actively involved in the lives of the different stakeholders in the locality.
It must be noted that ADDU has occupied the top leadership post of the Association of NSTP Implementers in Region XI (ANIR XI), a network of schools in the region that implements the NSTP law, since its inception in 2008. This development is really a challenge for the ADDU NSTP program. Dr. Isidor, who is the president of ANIR XI since 2008, continues, “In terms of benchmarking, it is the vision of the ADDU NSTP to take the lead for other universities and colleges in providing inspiration in terms of how the program is implemented and how to better the lives of the communities which it serves.”
As a concrete celebration of its 10th year anniversary, NSTP culminated its school year 2011-2012 with a whole-day gathering of all students, student volunteers, faculty, and community partners at Finster Auditorium on 3rd March 2012. The affair was graced by a representative from the Commission on Higher Education, Education Supervisor Mr. Bernando Luis Alejandro. A special video presentation of the program’s milestone, especially produced for the occasion, was shown during the culminating activity as a fitting reminder of the program’s overall thrusts and its aspirations for the next ten years. (By M. Isabel S. Actub, SICO)
via AdDU InSite