Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Angara to DepEd: Clarify P26.5-B cyber-education

By: Bernadette E. Tamayo - Journal Online
SENATOR Edgardo Angara wants the Department of Education to clarify the content of the lectures and presentations that will be aired simultaneously in different public schools nationwide under the P26.5 billion Cyber-Education program.

He earlier raised concerns over the method in delivering basic education services to elementary and high school students under the proposed Cyber-Ed Project.

“I am not against educational technology but we must scrutinize this very closely because no studies have yet been made regarding the effectiveness of TV-based instruction in basic education,” Angara stressed.

He earlier called for a Senate inquiry into the Cyber-Education Project, citing the “indecent haste” of its implementation and the serious doubts about its relevance and cost-effectiveness.

Under this project, a total of 37,794 schools or 90 percent of all public schools nationwide will be connected in the next three years. These schools will receive live broadcasts featuring lectures and presentations from master teachers as well as coursewares on demand and other valuable resource materials.

He also questioned the benefits of TV-based education to children ages six to ten. “That age group needs teacher contact because if the students have questions or reservations, the teachers can answer them, and this can only be done if they are present inside the classroom,” Angara said.

He said that students of this age group may also find it hard to comprehend the lessons and lectures by just watching TV. He said that distance education is only suitable for above literate students since they can already understand the instructions quickly.

“My other concern is the cost-effectiveness of this program, it is hard to find teachers who can sufficiently explain in simple terms the concepts found in subjects like social science, home economics, Philippine history etc.,” he said.

“There are a lot of questions that need to be addressed by the DepEd before we can introduce this project. We have to pilot test it first, if the results are favorable, then we can expand it,” he said.

Angara added: “Finally, there’s this question of priority, we must first address the current classroom shortage, recruit more bright teachers, train and re-train teachers, and acquire desks and textbooks.”

However, he did not rule out the possibility of implementing Cyber Education in the future, saying that once they have decided the content and the delivery, and if studies show that the children can learn through distance education, this project might be one of the solutions to the country’s educational crisis.

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