Fr. Pierre T. Tritz, SJ, a French Jesuit Priest, came to the Philippines in 1950 and began his crusade for the rights and dignity of the underprivileged Filipino children. He decided to make his citizenship in the country legal so as to continue his advocacy in serving the marginalized members of the society. Aside from ERDA Tech Foundation, Fr. Tritz also founded other organizations with the likes of ERDA Foundation (1974), the Foundation for the Assistance to the Hansenites or FAHAN (1978) and the Albert Schweitzer Association – Philippines or ASAP (1995).
With ERDA Foundation already engaged in helping almost thousands of poor children go through elementary school, and with several groups following its example, Fr. Pierre Tritz, S.J., turned his attention to the older poor children – the youth aged 13 years and above.
Noting the scarcity of adequately-equipped technical schools in Metro Manila, Fr. Tritz decided it was the right time to establish a technical school where poor but deserving youth are provided the opportunity of a free (through sponsorship) high school education and training in employable technical skills. Together with the Board of ERDA Foundation, Fr. Tritz began planning as early as 1991 for the formation of a technical high school for the poor – the ERDA Technical and Vocational Secondary School (ERDA Tech). Arrangements were made in 1992 for an available location in the Pandacan district of Manila. To institute and operate the school, the ERDA Tech Foundation was organized and registered in 1993, with the Foundation’s Board becoming, in effect, the School Board.
ERDA Tech, compared to other secondary schools, is not an ordinary high school. It was founded mainly to give economically and socially disadvantaged youth the chance to finish high school education and be trained in a technical skill, so that they can work themselves out of their present impoverished situation. These students, in return for a tuition-free education and training, are to put in extra effort to acquire a particular trade skill by the time they graduate from ERDA Tech. Generally, high school diploma has no assurance of a stable job, however, ERDA Tech hopes to provide its graduates an unparalleled edge that makes them incomparable from the others: employable technical skills, proper work ethics, a sense of stewardship, and a healthy and strong belief in themselves and their potential.
ERDA Tech opened its doors in June 1994 to an initial enrolment with 295 first-year students, mostly from the underprivileged communities of Pandacan, Paco, Sta. Mesa and Sta. Ana. That year also marked the start of ERDA Tech’s five-year formal high school program.
With the Dual Training System (DTS) signed into law, ERDA Tech adapted the system in July 1997 and refined its fifth-year program to include the in-plant training (IPT) as part of the DTS implementation by ERDA Tech.
ERDA Tech Foundation also began its non-formal training program in October 1997, with the pilot run of the Palihan Project by ERDA Tech in partnership with the Marikina Institute of Science and Technology (M.I.S.T). Jointly developed by UNESCO Jakarta and ERDA Tech Foundation, the PALIHAN Project is a one-year skills training program for older street children and out-of-school youth.
ERDA Tech received in June 1999 the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) Permit and Recognition for its five-year secondary course.
VISION AND MISSION STATEMENT
ERDA Tech envisions a society that respects and develops the dignity and uniqueness of each person and integrity of creation and promotes justice, solidarity and interdependence among all members.
Thus, we envision ERDA Tech to be a center of innovative and quality education for socially disadvantaged Filipino youth to enable them to become God-loving, highly skilled, self-propelled and socially responsible citizens.
- To enable the students and trainees to overcome their current feelings and attitudes on life brought about by their poverty and life experiences and open themselves to and aspire for opportunities towards a better life for themselves, their families and society.
- To enable underprivileged students to realize their ambitions and continue their education as working students by providing a well-rounded academic and technical curriculum.
- To help build the country’s pool of quality-trained and responsible workers by preparing students and trainees for entry into the work place and encouraging productivity through entrepreneurship.
- To create and maintain an atmosphere conducive to spiritual growth of students and trainees.
- To provide opportunities for values formation that upholds truth and respect for life and enables the students and trainees to internalize such values.
- To inculcate discipline and sense of responsibility in all aspects of their lives.