Not many good stories come out of the Philippines nowadays, so there's always a reason to celebrate when a piece of positive news comes up once in a while.
One such story is the remarkable success of a project called JEDI (Java Education Development Initiative), which was first hatched and implemented in the Philippines but is now copied all over the world.
As a brief background, the program provides free Java course materials--developed with inputs from the IT industry--to local universities. A lead school, which in this case is the University of the Philippines Java Research and Development Center, takes charge in developing the course materials together with Sun Microsystems Philippines.
So far, a total of 130,000 students in the country have taken the Java courses. It has been replicated in various parts of the world, including countries as far away as Brazil.
I was in San Francisco a few weeks ago to attend the annual JavaOne conference and I can say that the JEDI project has indeed made its mark in the IT world--well, at least, in the Java community.
At the developer confab, I saw a number of foreign nationals proudly wearing sweaters bearing the JEDI name and logo, with the word Philippines boldly emblazoned under it. When some of those guys learned that I was from the Philippines, each conversation with me started with the JEDI project. It was heartwarming.
I decided to highlight this small triumph because my country is hosting a Sun-sponsored worldwide developer conference this June 17 to 19 at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel. This is the second time that the Philippines has been chosen as the site of the conference dubbed Sun Tech Days.
Interestingly, it was during the country's first hosting of the event four years ago that the JEDI was first conceived. Like the organizers, I'm hoping that another program as innovative and collaborative would pop out once again that would bring pride to the Philippines once again.