Laptops for kids

Monday, September 11, 2006

e-Skwela for non-formal education

I attended a meeting here in Cebu called by CICT (Commission on ICT) on developing community e-Centers for non-formal education. Specifically, they are in the process of converting 85 modules that provide training for high school equivalency. These are to be piloted in community e-Centers, including one at the Telof (Telecommunications Office, now part of CICT) premises in Cebu. One of the motivations is to provide content for the e-Centers. However, the educational goals are quite important as well. Apparently, there are 1.84 million children ages 6-11, and 3.94 million people ages 12-15 who are not in school. The Bureau of Alternative Learning Systems (BALS, which is mandated to lead non-formal education) is focused on addressing the needs of those aged 15 and above who did not complete high school, and I am sure there are tens of millions of them. The modules are focused on earning the participants a high school equivalency certificate. More jargon here: this approach is called A&E (accreditation and equivalency, the program is also called AEP) through the PEPT (Philippine Educational Placement Test). Roy Zapata of CITE (Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise, one of the best Technical-Vocational schools in the region) also attended the meeting. CITE has been doing work on assisting schools in systems administration, I hope to tap their expertise (and training materials) to do some training for the Cebu Provincial Schools Division, incorporating material on LTSP developed by Neal Bierbaum (one of two Peach Corps volunteers who I hope will be collaborating with UP Cebu to assist public high schools in integrating ICT). There were also two representatives from the Cebu City division, Joy Young, a former City Councillor who is the cities consultant on basic education. He has worked with UP Cebu before on Literacy and Numeracy training. He has a reputation for not putting a high priority of ICT, but I think he can be won over to support practical uses of ICT to support educational objectives. Woodrow Denuyo, the recently appointed ASDS (Assistant Schools Division Superintendent) for secondary education in Cebu City. I met Woodrow when he was still a principal with the Lapu-lapu City division, and he is quite knowledgeable and capable about ICT. He was a scholar who earned a Masters of IT Education, so I believe he is a good person for leading the integration of ICT in Cebu City.

ICTs in Basic Education, 2nd National Congress

FIT-ED organized another national congress for educators. It was held here in Cebu (again) last week, and Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo gave a speech (which I missed). It helps that her daughter runs FIT-ED. However, politics aside, I was able to establish some useful contacts during the congress. Specifically, I set up a breakfast meeting for the day after the congress between NISMED (the National Institute for Science and Mathematics Education Development, a University of the Philippines research and extension unit, located at the main campus in Diliman) staff and the Dean of UP Cebu College. I expect they will be able to bring to Cebu programs based on Intel's Teach to the Future modules here to Cebu. These modules are 80 hours worth of training on Integrating Technology into Teaching and Learning (computer literacy is a pre-requisite, and is not covered). This has been given at least 8 times in the Philippines, both for INSET (in-service training) trainers and for faculty at Teacher Education Institutes (TEI's, in the DepEd/CHED jargon) for pre-service education. I hope that UP Cebu will be able to integrate the material into their post-graduate Masters of Education program, as well as undertake a program of research and extension activities that involves sevearl departments of the college. Later, I will post a conference report on some of the sessions I attended.