Friday, November 14, 2008

Private sector gives P4B for education

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Private sector assistance in education has been gaining ground with more than P4 billion so far given this school year, Education Secretary Jesli A. Lapus said on Wednesday.

Mr. Lapus said the Education department is asking for more participation from business chambers, nongovernmental institutions and corporations in the program.

The Education chief was here for the inauguration of the rehabilitated Gabaldon building at the Zamboanga East Central School.

"We solicited assistance from the private sector through the adopt-a-school program with the government providing 150% income tax deduction as an incentive," he said.

Mr. Lapus, who has spent more than two decades in the private sector before joining the government, said most of the private sector assistance went to rehabilitation of schoolbuildings and acquisition of text books, chairs, computers, and even medical care for public school students.

He added the P4-billion assistance from the private sector proved the success of the department’s networking program.

"It takes the entire community to build and support a school. It’s a community effort," Mr. Lapus noted, adding that the support in education has to be consistent.

He said strong private involvement in upgrading public schools was shown during the "Brigada Skwela" (school brigade) where participation doubled in rehabilitating schools nationwide. The program is conducted before the opening of the school year.

In the 2009 budget, the Department of Education allotted P167.94 billion, a 13% increase from 2008’s P149.25 billion, for school rehabilitation, but Mr. Lapus said the amount is still "inadequate."

The growing support of the private sector and international donors has offset the fund lack, he added. "Denying the children schooling is denying the human being a fighting chance for the future," he said.

Meanwhile, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has allotted more than P6 million for training programs of out-of-school youth in Western Visayas.

Buen Mondejar, TESDA regional director, said the program will start this month.

"The funds will be equally divided among the 18 congressional districts in Western Visayas, amounting to P330,000 each," Mr. Mondejar said during the opening of the sixth Aklan Product Showcase held in SM City Iloilo.

Some 50 out-of-school youth will benefit from this project. The agency will train the qualified applicants, provide allowances and other expenses, Mr. Mondejar said.

He added the project is part of pro-poor and livelihood programs. TESDA Director-General Augusto Syjuco was assigned by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to spearhead the pro-poor and livelihood programs in Western Visayas.

TESDA was tasked to formulate a comprehensive development plan for middle-level manpower based on the National Technical Education and Skills Development Plan. — Darwin T. Wee and Harthwell C. Capistrano, BusinessWorld

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Edu 2.0 The Future of Education

Edu 2.0 is a free online learning management system. There are a number of free learning management systems, but Edu 2.0 looks promising, as it combines learning management with social networking features. It was pretty cool exploring it, as it is quite user-friendly.

The CICT was privileged to have hosted a workshop on Edu 2.0 facilitated by no less than its founder, Mr. Graham Glass. The workshop participants were mostly from the public high schools. I believe that Edu 2.0 can be a useful tool in implementing ICT in education, without the attached cost! I really hope that schools use it. :)

An article about Mr. Glass's visit was published at

Edu 2.0 founder: E-learning is evolving
By Izah Morales
First Posted 15:20:00 11/13/2008

MANILA, Philippines –In electronic learning environments, you are both a student and a teacher.

E-learning is evolving. But one of the more common trend is that it has been used to automate how classes run, said Graham Glass, founder of Edu 2.0, as he discussed trends in e-learning.

E-learning, he added, does not necessarily involve distance learning. It also involves automating grading and assignments and messaging. E-learning also gives parents access to their children’s performance, said Glass.

Edu 2.0 is a social network designed for students and teachers.

The service allows anyone to teach and learn by combining the power of blogs, online classes, automated grading, online quizzes, lessons, e-mail, games, forums, calendar, instant messaging, among others.

E-learning, however, becomes crucial when teachers want to reach people in the provinces, added Glass.

“E-learning makes it very easy for teachers to create a class and teach children wherever they are in the world,” he said. E-learning allows interaction among teachers and students.

Edu 2.0, for instance, allows online interactions through various Internet tools like chat discussions groups, blogs, community billboard and interactive games.

Glass said e-learning allows students and teachers from different schools to interact and exchange resources, while discussing common lessons.

“When you set up a school within our website, you have to follow a set of policies that can be customized. When you select a ‘walled community,’ then students within that school can only interact with each other,” said Glass.

The Edu 2.0 has 24,000 members. Filipino professor Joel Yuvienco who has been a member since February 2008, said he uses the e-learning system to teach special children.

“[E-learning] has empowered both learners and teachers,” added Yuvienco.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

eSkwela at Loyola Heights

Another eSkwela center has been opened recently in Barangay Loyola Heights, Quezon City. Read article below. Taken from

CICT opens new e-learning center in QC
By Anna Valmero
First Posted 10:35:00 11/11/2008

QUEZON CITY, Philippines -- The Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) has opened its seventh e-learning center in Loyola Heights under its eSkwela project.

The CICT through its Human Capital Development Group (CICT HCDG) launched in 2005 eSkwela to provide disadvantaged youth with educational opportunities to help reduce the digital divide and enhance their capacity to be successful participants in a global and knowledge-based economy.

The Loyola Heights center received an enrollment of 55 learners, mostly aged below 20.

The eSkwela project hopes to provide opportunity for Filipino out-of-school youths and adults (OSYAs) to go back to school.

According to a 2004 study by the Department of Education, there are 15 million Filipino out-of-school youths and adults. A major cause of this is poverty. Instead of going to school, children from poor families start working at an early age to help provide for their families.

According to the Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS), public education in the country is free but the poor find it difficult to cover transportation, food and allowances cost of going to school.

Angelina Malabanan, mobile teacher at the new center, said the site will offer the opportunity of alternative education for more OSYAs in the area.

Malabanan was fielded by DepEd’a Bureau of Alternative Learning System (BALS) as a mobile teacher.

“Under eSkwela, we call the enrollees as learners compared to students in formal schooling; we teach them based on their own pace,” said Malabanan. “We employ interactive topic modules to teach them the five learning strands geared to help them develop basic skills in preparation for employment, vocational courses or tertiary education.”

The five learning strands include communications, critical thinking and problem solving, productivity and sustainability of natural resources, development of self and sense of community, and expanding one’s world vision. The modules include audio and text materials in English but for discussions, learners can use Filipino or English.

Since eSkwela is a play on Filipino terms “iskwela” meaning school and “kwela” meaning fun, the five strands uses BALS-based interactive modules which learners can access via the Internet.

Malabanan said this strategy helps students develop computer literacy while studying the modules.

Malabanan added that they also encourage peer-teaching, in which fast learners help slow learners in some topics. “This gives learning a community experience,” she said.

Amy Mosura, eSkwela project staff, said they are continuously expanding as more communities learn about and adopt the program.

“Communities contact us to seek guidance on how to set up an eSkwela center. Since this is a “bayanihan” effort, the local community helps provide a room or a center to house the learners and the computers to be used. Then, mobile teachers are fielded and teach at the center.”

The community in which the eSkwela center is located manages the center.

Mosura said the local community, which includes LGUs and local DepEd or civic organizations, are oriented about their responsibilities to maintain the sustainability of the project and become stewards of development for their learners.

Mosura added that they are gaining enrollees as more learn about the benefits of the eSkwela program: ICT-based learning and flexible schedules.

She added the program also eliminates awkwardness for adults to learn in a formal school environment.

She cited as example a 40-year-old who gave up schooling in Grade 6 due to being bullied for her physical disability. She enrolled at the eSkwela center in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, took the accreditation exam and ranked eighth among examiners in the area.

“The current education system is a one-size fits all program but for some reasons, it cannot work for some people -- like the young who start work at an early age and those above 30-years-old who feel awkward to go back to secondary school. We cannot keep them marginalized because they are assets of the country towards development.”

But there is a long road ahead for eSkwela.

According to Amy Mosura of the eSkwela project, challenges for operations and further expansion include lack of mobile teachers and funding. Budget for eSkwela comes from CICT and grants from foundations, such as the APEC Educational Foundation, mainly provide budget for eSkwela’s operations.

In the Loyola Heights center, lack of desktop computers is a big challenge since all 55 learners share the five computers available, said Malabanan. To address this, learners have limited hours of computer use and were divided in morning and afternoon shifts.

The new center is the second e-learning site in Diliman, the first is located at Roces Avenue. Provincial centers are located at Bulacan, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Ormoc and Zamboanga.