Fund More Books, Hire More Teachers First


August 13, 2013

"Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara should just add his pork to the DepEd budget so that the agency can continue supporting the GILAS Internet Project," said Mr. Rick Bahague, National Coordinator of the Computer Professionals' Union (CPU), as a reaction to Senator Angara's Bill to "provide every public elementary and high school throughout the country with a computer laboratory equipped with at least 10 computers."

In 2012, DepED allocated P1.8 billion to the GILAS Internet Project. The GILAS project is a private-sector led Internet literacy program which was turned over to DepEd on November 21, 2012. At that time, DepEd reported that 97% of all public high schools have computers while 68% have internet access with help from the GILAS project. "There is no need to pass a new law just to put computers in classrooms unless DepEd's pronouncement is not true," remarks Mr. Bahague.

Similar efforts to address the apparent lack of innovation in teaching and education by introduction of various technologies have been attempted in other countries. In mid-2000, Nicholas Negroponte founded the One laptop Per Child Project (OLPC) which aimed to provide educational laptop to developing countries. However, in a 2012 study of the Inter-American Development Bank on Peru's implementation of OLPC, it concluded that students under the OLPC project showed "no measurable improvement in tests scores". Michigan and Texas also reported similar observations.

"What would give more long term positive results? Giving 10 computers or providing thousands of textbooks and hiring more teachers ?" asks Mr. Bahague. "Of course, the most appropriate is to provide all necessary tools for learning to students and it will start with adequate budget in education and proper prioritization on its spending."###


Rick Bahague, 09328886278
National Coordinator
Computer Professionals' Union

Technology in the Classroom - The Real Deal

The question of how technology inside the classroom really helps in learning is an important question. This question can be addressed at various levels. One is in terms of enabling. Technology can make new schemes possible. Take, for example, clickers. It is a new way of collecting responses from students. It can be made anonymous so that even the shiest student in the class can participate. A teacher can easily get feedback via quick quiz questions and feel the pulse of the entire class. Talks from other speakers as well as demonstrations can be presented inside a classroom. Conference calls can be made. There are other examples. Enabling, however, is only one factor that needs to be considered in evaluating the use of technology inside a classroom. A second important factor is efficiency, measured in terms of the results placed against the resources used. With this factor, money is crucial. The costs need to be compared. The following is a nice table and graphic that nicely illustrate a comparison between an old fashioned textbook and an IPad (These are downloaded from Lee Wilson's blog):