Friday, September 08, 2006

DepEd to bat for integrating ICT in basic courses

EDUCATION Secretary Jesli Lapus wants information and communications technology integrated into basic education, and he is working hard to get more money for the purpose.

Speaking at the 2nd National ICTs in Basic Education Congress, which started on Wednesday at the Waterfront Hotel in Lahug, Cebu City, Lapus said his goal is to make communication technology a part of the country’s basic education program.

“The quality of, and access to, basic education remains our overriding goal,” Lapus said. “All our efforts are geared toward providing students with skills in the use of appropriate technologies.”

Lapus said that computer use in schools is very low. He noted that in public-elementary schools, computer-to-student ratio is 1:25,000, and computer-to-teacher ratio is 1:728. In public-high schools, computer-to-student ratio is 1:111 and computer to teacher ratio is 1:3.

He said only 69 percent of public-high schools in the country have access to a computer. The goal is to provide at least one computer to 75 percent of the schools by the end of next year.

Over a five-year period, the goal is to equip all 4,729 public-high schools with multimedia libraries and at least 20 percent of all public-elementary schools with computer laboratories.

The bulk of the money to fund ICT in education will come from DepEd’s budget. However, the department is planning to tap local governments, government corporations, the private sector, parent-teacher associations and foreign-development assistance.

To integrate ICT in basic education, the department must take into account several issues that affect its implementation, including the obsolescence and maintenance of current ICT resources, Lapus added.

Lapus said his department is coordinating with government agencies and nongovernment organizations to mobilize resources and encourage local government investment through the Special Education Fund.

He hopes to spur early creation of an ICT Basic Education Fund for facilities improvement, curriculum development, research and development, monitoring and evaluation and training.

“In the end, this boils down to how much resources we can allocate,” he said. “Through our combined efforts, we will be able to provide our children with the quality education they need to become truly productive and competitive.”
--Jonathan Hicap -- Manila Times

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