The Department of Education isn’t a stranger to being given grants (what I term as “alms”) for continuous integration of IT in the education sector. I think the government has had dealings with IT giants like as Oracle with their Oracle Academy and Microsoft with their Partners in Learning program. While these efforts give students and educational institutions a break in their efforts, I still view it in the overall sad state of Philippine education. We rely on the generosity of the large Western capitalists to educate our students.
Well as I see it, IT companies have much to gain from sponsoring such endeavors. For one, foundations and donations are legal tax dodges that many businesses take. They get to establish political connections and footholds in the country, which are is good for their business. Sponsoring students even let them in on the fresh crop of potential IT talent that the country will produce. And we have to hand it to Filipinos, we are damn good IT professionals. What better way to get fresh meat than to harvest them from your own farm.
As I’ve pointed out before, pushing IT in education is a tough challenge since we face the most daunting task in infrastructure. Computer laboratories aren’t cheap. A decent networked and online one can cost millions to build. And it’s quite futile to let students learn about computers without having to hold one. And these
Last time I checked the news, Microsoft’s PiL is developing Math and English courses for teachers. I think it’d be great for our teachers who really strive to be better in their fields.
e-Learning is really one of the underused avenues of learning in the country. Many Filipinos (teachers included) have Friendster accounts and e-mail accounts which they use and check every once in a while. While this shows that teachers have already started to get on with the program and be Net literate, most of their use are limited to those things.
There are a lot of autodidactic resources available to date. Foreign universities have a lot of webcasts, podcasts, and blogs that offer lectures, notes and readings on primary, secondary, and tertiary level topics. Or perhaps we just don’t have enough websites that provide local teachers with great resources.
But let’s face it, going Web 2.0 on the Philippine education sector is risky. While it can be a noble undertaking, it’d entail a lot of investment to get things done. Even the business of learning materials entails a lot of red tape and politics – factors that inevitably choke the improvement of education standards.
For now, I think we would just have to get by with other entities’ generosity.