Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Sunday, January 06, 2008

DepEd not ready for CyberEd


DepEd not ready for CyberEd

Experts cite serious implementation problems

By Rene Q. Bas, Editor in Chief , Manila Times

Top-ranking information and communication technology experts who participated in the full-day November 9, 2007, roundtable on the Department of Education’s Cyber-Ed Project (CEP) say the department is not ready to handle the $465.5-million project.

They find serious problems in the CEP.

They are urging DepEd planners to restudy the project and make it truly responsive to the real needs and problems of the country’s education system.

This special report, which will run in three-installments, is the first time the discussion papers generated at the roundtable held at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, are being released to the public.

DepEd presentation

More than 50 roundtable participants listened to Assistant Secretary of Education Jesus Mateo describe and explain the project through a PowerPoint presentation.

A team of experts supported Assistant Secretary Mateo, who is also the DepEd’s director in charge of the Cyber-Ed Project.

Chief of Staff Glenn Sumido of the Office of the Secretary of Education was also a roundtable participant.

Of the 50-plus participants more than 30 are educators and education-ICT experts. University presidents, vice-presidents, heads of faculties and school principals also actively took part in the roundtable.

Forbidden to submit text

The full text of Mateo’s presentation, complete with slides and additional amplifications, should rightly be in this special report. Mr. Mateo was, however, forbidden by a superior to submit his paper to the organizers for inclusion in the complete Report of Proceedings of the Roundtable.

The Mateo presentation was more thorough than those he had given in other venues. It gave roundtable participants new elements not found in the pre-roundtable version of the DepEd website’s pages promoting the CEP.

Mateo’s presentation, as does his DepEd website, reviewed the problems of Philippine basic education. He stressed the need for government to take drastic measures to make sure that all learners are provided with the resources they need to learn while also improving the effectiveness of the system.

Overarching framework

He said, as Secretary Jesli Lapuz has been telling audiences, that DepEd sees the Cyber-Ed Project (CEP) as the “quickest and most cost-effective way to deliver high quality education to all learners” and “a total solution to multiple persisting educational problems.” CyberEd will be made the overarching framework for all education ICT initiatives in the public basic education sector.

Mateo told the roundtable facts that we also reported in our first special report on the CEP (published on August 19, 2007). CEP will have a nationwide network utilizing satellite technology; 12 video channels, wireless wide area networking and Internet made available to schools, even in the remotest areas.

As many as 37,794 elementary and secondary schools will be benefited but only 26,618 of these will receive equipment. The other 11,176 will be covered by means of a “clustering scheme” through less advanced audio and video devices.

CEP will cover all elementary grades and high school levels.

Panel of reactors

Mateo’s presentation was immediately followed by talks and presentations made by the expert panel of reactors.

The panel was made up of Dr. William T. Torres, president of Mosaic, Inc.; Dr. Merle C. Tan, director of the UP NIS-MED; Dr. Allan Bernardo of De La Salle University’s College of Education; and Dr. Alexander Flor, dean of the UP Open University’s Faculty of Information and Communication Studies.

Satisfactory answers

Mateo and his support team gave satisfactory and frank answers to questions raised after his presentation. His team did so again in the formal open forum that followed the talks of the panel of reactors. Asian Institute of Journalism president Romulo Tuazon was the moderator.

Workshop groups

The participants broke up into three workshop groups, each group assigned to discuss a different set of essential areas of reform and development in basic education.

The conclusions and recommendations of the roundtable emerged from these groups and were aired and further assessed at the plenary session.

The Manila Times School of Journalism in partnership with the University of the Philippines’ National Institute for Science and Mathematics Education Development (UP NIS-MED) convened the roundtable. It was held in the UP NIS-MED conference hall in Diliman, Quezon City.

Dr. Fe Hidalgo, former DepEd secretary and now president of The Manila Times Education Group, served as lead convener of the roundtable.

Dr. Josefina Patron, consultant to the National Broadband Network, headed the organizing and management committee.

The complete proceedings of the roundtable will be available on The Manila Times website beginning January 14

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