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Entrepreneur rides on K to 12 program

Entrepreneurs Camilo and Rina Fernandez, owner of Creative Science Exhibit, Inc. (CSEI), has proven to be a name to beat when it comes to educational theme park concepts in the country. From the previous 2 Seriland and Creative Thinker, CSEI has now Raya Park and Elite Techno Park, the first technology park in the country.

Hatched two long years ago, these parks are anchored on the implementation of the K to 12 educational program of the Department of Education (DepEd).

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The two parks, each housed in separate buildings, are located at the Liwasang Darangen in the CCP Complex. Raya Park is designed for kids while the Elite Techno Park is for the senior high school and college students.

Rina, vice president and general manager of CSEI, explained that the two interactive parks are designed to delight the students, enhance their creativity and hopefully help in their decisions on what future course they may trod for senior high or after.

Elite Techno Park was conceptualized two years ago when engineers and principals of Elitech Corp. thought of extending the semiconductor industry to the Filipino students. They have noticed that semiconductor is very limited in the curriculum which is understandable because of the high cost involved in the facilities and materials. But with the K to 12 Program, they believe that this is the right time to put up this exhibit.

The technology park features the techno-vocational track of K to 12 program of the DepEd in the field of engineering (semiconductor, SMT, PCB assembly and electronics), mechanic and automotive, air-conditioning, information technology (Robotics), solar energy and renewable resources, weather forecasting (climate education), and disaster awareness and preparedness.

FERNANDEZ

FERNANDEZ

It has different modules for elementary to tertiary level. It provides activities for visitors to have hands-on experience on each module. It aims to utilize the skills of the students and open job opportunities for them even before graduation. This will supplement their technical knowledge for their chosen technical courses and this can help them if they opt to enter the corporate world or venture into business. Further, all modules will discuss the importance of technology and its contribution to save Mother Earth.

Raya Park is the fourth theme park by CSEI after Seriland, Creative Thinker and Techno Park. Raya in Bulgaria means “heaven” and “friend” in Hebrew. It is indeed the Land of Happy Thoughts. Raya also happens to be the name of the first granddaughter of the Fernandez family.

Raya features Arts and Home Economics. Aside from being educational, it also offers entertainment for nursery to elementary level. It has Origami, 3D Cinema, Fruit Preparation and Table Setting, Enchanting Mirror Maze, and Kids Paradise. While for secondary students, the park offers Table Napkin Folding, Fruit Carving, and Enchanting Mirror Maze.

The Fernandez family owns Elitech Corp., which is one of the major suppliers of quality machines and process supplies of leading semiconductor companies in the Philippines for the past 18 years now. In 2010, the company ventured into the education theme park business. It was the first to bring Trick Art Museum and Mirror Maze in the country. To continue the company’s mission to provide outdoor and practical education through school fieldtrips, Elitech formed the CSEI to put up the Elite Techno Park and Raya Park.

Opened only last July 4, the theme parks are already fully booked by schools up to September this year. Raya has a capacity for 600 kids and parents and Elite can also hold the same number of visitors for two hours.

“Elite Techno Park is my husband’s business,” says Rina noting that being in the semiconductor business has made it easier for them to gather sponsors for educational equipment and company partners for each module.

At the park, students will have the chance to actually try the equipment. At the semiconductor module, students are guided via the step by step process in the development of an integrated circuit with the printed circuit board as its final product. The PCB is where the ICs are installed in every electronic gadget.

“Students can try actual soldering, engage with the robots, read weather forecast, learn origami, among others,” adds Rina.

At the automotive module, which is being sponsored by Toyota Motor Philippines, students can have the chance to change tires and other practical applications in an automotive shop.

“We’ve known only a few paper folding tricks such as the boats, balls, but we have lots of origami arts to learn from here,” says Rina.

Already, the two educational entertainment parks have been recognized by the DepEd as its partner. Eventually, the park hopes to offer trainings for voctech students.

With strong demand, the company aims a return on investments in less than two years. It has targeted to accommodate 400,000 visitors over a ten month period in one school year. This is double the attendance it generated from its previous educational and entertainment exhibits.

Investments are running into several millions of pesos already with the construction of the two buildings, equipment and all the fixtures.

“My son, who finished robotics from La Salle, helps us in our robotics module,” says Rina. The robotics module also features lots of robots from Singapore and South Korea including one from La Salle that his son programmed.

“In the robotics, what we have are not just toys but practical applications so it can help form a student’s idea on what courses to pursue after the K to 12. Students can assemble, solder in this interactive exhibit,” adds Rina.

It caters mostly to schools in the National Capital Region and the entire of Luzon. It has also schools from nearby islands. It charges R450 per student for Elite and R350 for Raya although it has special rates for students from public schools.

Rina and Camilo are both entrepreneurs on their own, but they see the wisdom of helping students transition into the K to 12 program.

“This is actually like our CSR program,” says Rina.