e-Learning, until when?

Just recently, while I was browsing for the latest tech buzz on the net, I came across with the gmanews.tv hompepage which features DSWD and its partnered NGOs on their supposed e-learning project for pre-schoolers nationwide. The project is dubbed as Philippine e-Learning Network or PeN Project with primary goal of offering “distance learning program for day care centers under the early childhood care and development (ECCD). Furthermore, when we say e-learning, it’s quite obvious that it pertains to ‘eletronic learning’ which merits the use of computers, Internet, and other electronic device such as audio device and the like to efficiently integrate technology towards an interactive learning. Although the site did not further the budget and the exact date when it will be launched or until when the project will run, the bottom line is, until when does this E-learning project facilitate effective e-learning among our pre-schoolers? Will it “last”?

This thing bothered me as I go through with the article. It leads me to doubt whether it was DSWD’s initiative to pursue such or maybe part of President Arroyo’s “image-building” amid all these first family’s controversies sprawling out in the media. Even so, DSWD worked and being financed under the Office of the President and yet, the agency couldn’t point out the total budget allocated for this e-Learning project and until when it will run. And mind you, this is a nationwide campaign! I’d rather think that this is just part of PGMA’s fabrications in all of her political agenda.

So what is e-Learning by the way? Quoted from the paper entitled E-learning in the Philippines through the Use of Affordable, High-Quality, and Custom-Designed Development Tools by Caccam et al., e-learning is “technologically-supported learning, which includes the use of electronic media such as the Internet, personal computers, phone bridging, audio and videotape, video teleconferencing, satellite broadcast, mobile phones, personal digital assistants, and other related technologies to enhance teaching and learning.” Meanwhile DSWD stated that “It hopes to increase enrollment of day care children from 1.2 million to 3 million….. the project will cover 42,000 barangay day care centers nationwide….. also, the program will review and update pre-school curriculum.. (www.gmanews.tv)”

In another article entitled E-Learning for Basic Education in the Philippines authored by Professor Virgilio Manzano of the UP College of Education, “There are a lot advantages of using e-learning in the in-school and off-school settings in the Philippines. It allows interactivity between the lesson and the learner. The individualization of each learner is enhanced. The cost-effectiveness can be seen on it since the reproduction and distribution of learning materials is considered to be inexpensive. Its novelty allows the learners to deal on interesting lessons allowing them to become well motivated and receptive …..the integrity of each lessons can be maintained since the computer allows the delivery of uniform information in a sequential manner based on the needs of the learners, anytime and anywhere.”

Yes, it has its (good) objective and a (good) vision, but what about its implementation? I don’t mind of the correspondent from gmanews.tv missing all those ‘necessary’ information like the planning, budget allocation, execution, strategy and the like. What I doubt in this supposed e-Lerarning project are: 1.) could this be an idea of the President so to make her name surfaced in a good light? 2.) How long does this PeN project will last? maybe just for a year, and 3.) Can DSWD and its NGO partners could really implement an effective e-Learning project in the country?

Manzano added that President Arroyo “stated the need for a government to support the use of distance education utilizing e-learning as one approaches to promote the provision of quality education in the local communities and to promote equal access to basic education that include the elementary and secondary school level.” As a student, I am always looking forward to one of Mrs. Arroyo’s promises of “quality” education, “education for all”, DSWD’s e-Learning and other things that she had envisioned for her past terms. But, where did she brought those promises?

DepEd lunched its E-learning program for teachers and principals in ARMM and Region 11 & 12 last 2005, let’s see where this e-Learning project will take the young minds of Pinoy pre-schoolers.

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