Jesuits to back tech-voc schools after Fr. Tritz’ death

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Students supported by the Educational Research and Development Assistance (ERDA) Foundation with Fr. Pierre Tritz, S.J (in a wheelchair). (Photos: Fr. Pierre Tritz Institute-ERDA Tech)

MANILA, Oct. 8, 2016—Jesuit-run Xavier School will support the construction of technical-vocational senior high schools for out-of-school youth in Batangas and Misamis Oriental under the Educational Research and Development Assistance (ERDA) Foundation despite the recent death of ERDA’s French founder Fr. Pierre Tritz, S.J.

According to Xavier School president Fr. Aristotle Dy, S.J., an ERDA Tech senior high school will soon rise in the First Philippines Industrial Park in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. A memorandum of agreement between the administrators of Fr. Pierre Tritz Institute-ERDA Tech and the Lopez Family was signed on Sept. 19, coinciding with the founder’s 102nd birthday, but he died due to deteriorating health on Sept. 10 at the UST Hospital in Manila.

“The plan of ERDA Tech to be an excellent Jesuit-run tech-voc senior high school will occupy us for many years to come,” said Dy, who took on Tritz’s role as president of ERDA Group.

Maiden school in Batangas

“We are only in the beginning stages of setting up our new campus in Batangas, and the school will grow gradually as we attract more students and generate resources to educate bigger numbers.”

It is not clear when construction and operation of ERDA Tech school in Batangas will start but the priest said they target to enroll at least 160 students in its maiden school year.

“We are planning an intake of only 160 students in our first year, but we want to teach a point where we can take in 500 students each year. This will require massive capital investments,” he said.

Fr. Tritz’s legacy

Tritz was the driving force behind the construction of the first ERDA technical vocational school in Manila. ERDA Tech catered to impoverished students of Pandacan, Paco, Sta. Mesa, and Sta. Ana since June 1994. Under ERDA Tech’s five-year formal high school program, students are educated through scholarships and trained in technical skills to boost prospects for their future employment.

Before Tritz’ death, plans for constructing another ERDA Tech school in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental were underway, to cater to poor, out-of-school youth in Mindanao.

“Inspired by the ERDA Tech model, the school to be set up by Xavier University in Phividec (Misamis Oriental) is another major project to make tech-voc education available to the youth of the Visayas and Mindanao, so that they can be gainfully employed without going to college,” Dy explained.

Due to Tritz’ deteriorating health, administrators of Xavier School has agreed to takeover the management of the ERDA Group to ensure the continuity of his charitable endeavors. Tritz spearheaded the fundraising for the construction of the first ERDA Tech school in Manila and continued to seek donations to fund scholarships for its students. Tritz’s legacy enabled at least 1,628 students to graduate from ERDA Tech and gain employment in various technical industries. (CBCP News / Kris Bayos)

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