EIGHT o’clock on a Monday night and Sergio “Serge” Ramos 3rd still has a long night ahead of him.
The Asian Institute of Management’s Commission for Higher Education (CHEd-AIM) leadership program for local universities and colleges has just ended, an event where Ramos was a resource speaker for education and technology .
At the end of the conference, Ramos sat down to share his pleas with The Manila Times, unwittingly revealing who he is as a person.
Ramos is a 28-year-old sailor, a youthful-faced marine engineer who shines with the drive, drive and spirit of his generation.
He is the perfect embodiment of a tech-savvy, adventurous and socially engaged Filipino “fillenial” or millennial. All of this is evident by the way he passionately discussed his life at sea and how it led him to lofty dreams of quality education for Filipino youth.
Ramos’ first taste of educational inequality began in college.
“I was lucky enough to be accepted into the University of the Philippines. Being a researcher in a state university, however, was difficult for someone who came from a poor family in the province. We still have tuition fees to pay and the cost of living in Manila is so much more expensive than in Bicol,” he said.
Ramos looked for another place that could provide quality education for free. His journey took him to the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP) in Mariveles, Bataan. MAAP is one of the country’s leading private maritime institutions, supported by some of the largest international shipowner associations.
He chose marine engineering because, as he said, “science and technology is love.”
His years at sea didn’t just test his engineering skills. It also took him to places that fueled his passion for quality education.
“Our tanker was once in dry dock in Denmark. That’s where I had great conversations with the locals and found out that not only is their education free, but the government would even pay them to study The President of Finland underlined in one of his messages that education and training will always be the priority investment of his country. It was really amazing,” exclaimed Ramos.
Extended periods at sea made the young man think, “How I wish we could do it here in the Philippines. I don’t know where to start, but I knew where – ashore, in my homeland. I found my advocacy, transforming the educational space through technology and digital initiatives.
The birth of PCI Tech
Ramos began teaching at a public school for high school students and worked as a non-governmental organization (NGO) worker for the Gregorio Oca Foundation for Leadership and Development.
The late captain Gregorio Oca was the founder of Ramos’ alma mater, MAAP.
It was during this stint that Ramos met Ephrem de la Cerna, CEO of Seaversity, a technology company that provides maritime schools and training centers with playful learning systems through augmented reality programs and applications and Virtual.
He was also coached by Jae Jung Jang, a former South Korean ship captain who established a shipping company in the Philippines in the 1980s.
“Our vision for a brighter education has brought the Philippine Cyber Institute (PCI) Innovations Tech Center to life. It is an education and technology company that implements different technologies in education and Our products and services include self-driving e-learning systems and emerging technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality, and apply playful instructional designs to ensure modern learning.
“PCI is positioning itself as the Education 4.0 provider for Filipinos. Most of our deployments are in the vocational training sector, but we have started to move towards technology in basic education. With this, PCI Tech aims to be the primary learning platform for any K1 to 12 learner,” he said.
The company provides a standalone learning management system (LMS) for schools and a training management system for enterprise customers.
While Ramos is well on his way to advancing education for Filipino youth, he continues to explore advocacy that fulfills his civic commitments.
“Currently, my advocacy is aligned with our company and the CSR of the group, Sorok Uni Foundation, an institution founded by President Jang to provide housing services to cured Hansenites, or leprosy survivors, and their families. Now, it is part of nation building through community building, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
On the other hand, Ramos’ “adult” endeavors bound by his discipline and desire to win never drowned out a childhood dream: “At the end of the day, my dream is to become a disc jockey (DJ ) electronic dance music (EDM),” he joked.