24 October 2007

DepEd justifies the CEP

FROM our TEDPloop e-group, moderator Nap Imperial of the NEDA central office -- the one in Pasig, not along the Pasig:) -- shared the following DepEd justification for the controversial Cyber Education Project (CEP) in an email last night.

I am sharing it with you in toto, and please feel free to share your comments. DepEd after all "welcomes more dialogue to further improve on the project design and implementation."

Distance education is gradually being introduced for younger learners. Institutions around the world are realizing that through correct systems, distance education can produce substantial benefits for elementary and secondary school students. This has been the cue that DepEd has taken from other countries and even local initiatives.

The diagram above explains the theoretical model that Cyber Ed observes. The triad (teacher-facilitator-student) ensures that learning will take place even for young learners. The presence of standard content, customized reinforcements and active learning work together to maximize the learning experience in the classroom. Some political entities may mislead the public by oversimplifying the concept of Cyber Ed, and saying that it will not be effective. However, this theoretical model clearly shows that both the on-site facilitator and the students will have ample support for the teaching-learning process and the satellite teacher will have representative feedback on the lessons that are being discussed.

Incidentally, the debate on whether ICT in education is effective or not is irrelevant. It will just lead policy makers to an endless cycle of citing references and academic journals, the winner being decided by the sheer volume of evidence that can be presented. However, the truth is, while basic resources should be given priority, and other supplementary interventions should not be forgotten, integrating ICT in education is really part of the solution to the woes of the public basic education sector. No one can deny this. And a country like the Philippines cannot afford to be further left behind in using ICT in improving the educational system.

The clamor for greater diversity, community control and respect for the efforts of the many is not mutually-exclusive to the goals of Cyber Ed. In fact, Cyber Ed will be a major tool in promoting diversity in classroom teaching by providing the necessary support to teachers to make them more confident in handling more interesting and engaging lessons. Cyber Ed will promote greater community control by eliminating information asymmetry and inviting more local participation through improved performance, transparency and accountability. Cyber Ed will ultimately improve respect for the efforts of many local successes in education by ensuring nationwide collaborative learning among teachers and other stakeholders which will lead to instantaneous sharing of best practices and dissemination of brilliant ideas and school-based projects.

Lastly, it is very tempting to counter numerical arguments with other numerical perspectives. Let us assume that 400,000 teachers (300,000 elementary and 100,000 secondary) need retraining for 1 subject. Let us assume further that the number of training days necessary to provide the full competencies for 1 grade/year level is 40 (1 day of training for 1 week’s worth of lessons). Lastly, let us assume for the moment that honorarium for trainers and all transportation costs will not be included in the analysis. Using the COA guidelines of PhP1,200 per participant per day, training 400,000 teachers for 40 days for 1 subject area in 1 grade/year level will require a cost of Php19.2B (1,200 x 40 x 400,000). Now, comparing this to the Php26.5B price tag for 5 years puts things in proper perspective.

Then let us relax some assumptions and admit the real needs of DepEd. First, more than 500,000 teaching and non-teaching staff have to be trained. Second, they have to be trained on more than 1 subject area (especially for elementary teachers, who are the majority). Third, the transportation and other incidental costs to the training vary and depend on where the training will be held. However, there is no doubt that when viewed in the perspective of half a million personnel, the required additional cost will be very substantial. Fourth, even if DepEd has this money, this magnitude of training will take a substantial number of years to achieve (assuming 10 teams of trainers who will train 50 people, it will take them 1000 batches of training worth 40 days or 110 years including weekends and holidays to train all DepEd personnel). Now, rather than grappling with the idea that this seems impossible, why not accept that technology in general and Cyber Ed in particular can make a substantial dent in this daunting task?

DepEd understands that Cyber Ed has inadvertently stepped on the toes of some partners and entities with agenda that may or may not jive with the thrust of the Department. This might be the source of the perceived arrogance, insult, waste, insensitivity and poison. DepEd recognizes the fact that most of the resistance is well-meaning and it welcomes more dialogue to further improve on the project design and implementation. However, we implore critics to acknowledge a brilliant opportunity for change when it hits them right on the face. Instead of uncoordinated grandstanding at the expense of the project, why don’t we all pool our talents together and come up with the most appropriate solution to the country’s education crisis? In the same manner that Cyber Ed aims to harmonize all fragmented ICT initiatives in the sector, it is about time that all the bright boys and girls unite to bring our individual talents to focus on the same issues and solve them in a coordinated manner. The time is now. The opportunity is presenting itself. Don’t shy away from something that could potentially be great.
What do you think?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Of course the technology is there, and we would be remissed our responsibilities, if we cannot avail of it. Still, I have my doubts. There is no substitute to face-to-face interpersonal communication between student and teacher. But since that is almost impossible now due to the sheer numbers of studentry, I guess, the ersatz cyber-ed would be the most expedient choice. Carry on !

Porfirio Rubirosa

DJB Rizalist said...

I think the CEP would be better off adopting the ZTE design and give all the schools internet. this looks like the Knowledge Channel failure gussied up.

Anonymous said...

CEP, bakero! Our barrio schools roof are butas butas, our school children have to bring their chairs, swerte na kung may chalk, erasers and books available at all times, the teachers are underpaid.

Test case muna, not in bigger scale agad. Nagmamadali kayo sa kikitaing komisyon kasi malapit nang mawala sa pwesto. Style nyo from GMA to DepED, bulok!

Mentor said...

The CEP is a big move without thinking the teachers capability. The technology level of Philippine teacher is similar to Math and Science teacher which indicates on student performance in the achievement test or their capacities in their college life. Simply forget the CEP. Focus on quality teachers training and facilities. Resources in the classrooms and good managers. http://depedteacher.blogspot.com/

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