IT experts back more funds for new teachers, textbooks, instead of computers


08:51 PM August 13th, 2013



MANILA, Philippines — Instead of computers, the Congress should focus in giving more funding to the purchase of textbooks and hiring of more teachers for public schools, a group of information technology experts said on Tuesday.

The Computer Professionals’ Union gave this reaction to a bill filed by Senator Juan Edgardo Angara which sought to provide every public elementary and high school a computer laboratory equipped with at least 10 computers.

“Senator Angara should just add his pork to the Department of Education’s budget so that the agency can continue supporting the Gilas project,” Rick Bahague, CPU national coordinator, said in a statement.

Bahague was referring to the Gearing Up Internet Literacy and Access for Students project, a a private-sector led Internet literacy program that was turned over to the DepEd in November 2012. He recalled that in 2012, the DepEd allocated P1.8 billion to the Gilas project and at same time reported that 97 percent of all public high schools already had computers while 68 percent had Internet access with help from the project.

“[So] there is no need to pass a new law just to put computers in classrooms unless DepEd’s pronouncement is not true,” Bahague said. Angara, however, said only half of the 4,336 high schools nationwide had computer laboratories, with most of them needing repairs or upgrading.

The senator’s measure proposes that two of the 10 computers be connected to the Internet “to further assist the students with their research.”

The CPU said that similar efforts to address the apparent lack of innovation in teaching and education by introduction of various technologies have been attempted in other countries.

The group recalled the efforts in the mid-2000’s of Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Media Lab founding chair Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child Project (OLPC) which aimed to provide laptop computers to developing countries.

However, a 2012 study of the Inter-American Development Bank on the implementation of the OLPC in Peru, concluded that students who benefited from the project showed “no measurable improvement in tests scores.”

One-to-one laptop programs enforced in Maine, Michigan and Texas in the United States as well as in New South Wales, Australia also showed similar or mixed results, according to the technology news website Mashable.

“What would give more long term positive results—giving 10 computers or providing thousands of textbooks and hiring more teachers? 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,” Bahague said.

CPU is a network of computer professionals, IT practitioners and free and open source advocates. It is a member of several watchdogs that monitor automated elections in the country.

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  • siegfeil

    lokohan yang mga funds for computer, tingnan mo maski mga private schools niloloko ang mga students na high tech kuno. tingnan ninyo yung iba mga linux o.s. na libre ang ginagamit pag nagkaproblema mahirap resolved kasi high tech masyado. UP is one. tapos sa mga pork barrel nang mga yan ang laki nang allocations sa IT equipment. yung iba worst mga pinaglumaan nang ibang bansa ang binibili.

  • joboni96

    nakana na tayo ng mga i.t. businesses
    just look at every government office

    every juan pedro and maria
    may computer iba apple laptop pa

    nag internet, facebook, twitter, kunting word processing
    games pa

    solution dyan use thin client, supervised network model ng dost asti
    libre na from micro$oft, out na rin expensive apple

    wala na ring malaking cutkong

  • Kai Yoton

    Too much focus on computers and computer-based learning could be detrimental to the other facets of learning and development of children. How do you teach a child to think on his or her feet? How do you teach a child to confidently stand in front of the class and deliver a report?

  • Life Insurance Philippines

    Forget text books. The future of education is on the internet. Try googling Khan Academy and you’ll see what I mean. These educational materials will be available on any device that can access the internet, be it a cell phone, tablet, laptop, etc.

    The DepEd should focus on creating EDUCATIONAL CONTENT accessible through the internet. There are 103 millions SIMs in use in the Philippines as of 2012. Virtually, every family has a cell phone. An ebook doesn’t cost a single centavo to distribute and the costs for publishing are very negligible compared to actual text books. Moreover, it can be read by most cellphone users already, and therefore most kids can read these books at home.

    • magiting78

      How this information can be validated…Sometimes information taken from websites is not accurate or sometimes misleading…books still the best tools for education…

    • Kai Yoton

      Your premise is fatally flawed. No single option can be rightfully called the future of education.

      You know better than that. Be practical. Be street smart. Be realistic.

      • Life Insurance Philippines

        Are you saying that physical text books is the future of education?

        Have you even read a digital book published in EPUB format on an iphone, or android cell phone? Try it out before you sink the idea.

        Let’s do some computations:

        Let’s assume that a text book costs P20 to physically create and P100 to transport it to its final destination. Multiply that by the number of text books per student (say 5) and the number of students (20M). The cost would be P12 Billion. If all of these were converted into ebooks, there are no physical goods to create or transport. The cost will be the cell phone load to download the said ebooks. Even if each student were given P100 each in cell phone load to download the ebooks, the cost would be P2 Billion. That’s a savings of P10 Billion right there.

      • Kai Yoton

        Again, the primary defect of your reasoning is that you only think in terms of cost. You make a well-rounded person by implementing a well-rounded education that doesn’t anchor itself in ebooks alone.

        And yes, I do have plenty of EPUBs and PDFs in my smartphones and in my tablet. How pretentious of you to tell me that I try it out.

      • Life Insurance Philippines

        It’s good that you have plenty of EPUBs and PDFs in your smart phones and tablets. In effect, you are validating my premise that going digital is not only the future of education, it is already the present.

        I do agree with you that going digital does not offer a complete developmental approach to educating our children, but the issue at hand is whether we should pour more money towards text books and hiring more teachers or divert those same funds towards information technology.

        Question: Does pouring in more money for text books and hiring more teachers teach a child to think on his or her feet? Does pouring in more money for text books and hiring more teachers teach a child to confidently stand in front of the class and deliver a report?

        I don’t think so.

        You’ve raised good questions. Perhaps you can offer your solutions as well? If you had the same amount of budget at the disposal of Sen. Angara, where would you put it and why?

      • Kai Yoton

        I don’t agree with you and your line of thinking. It’s as simple as that. I am also of the belief that going digital is not a guarantee of effective learning since there a multiple facets of learning.

        Moreover, I can tell Mr. Angara how to effectively and honestly spend our taxes, but that is his job in the first place.

        Yes, I do believe that teachers have an essential role in teaching children—a role that no ebooks can substitute.

        By your statements I see that you hype on the advantages of going digital. But sadly, that option is superficial at best.

      • Life Insurance Philippines

        And by the way, check out Khan Academy and watch the video of how some schools in the US adopted their technology INSIDE the class room. You will be amazed.

      • Kai Yoton

        The problem with your line of reasoning is that it fails to take a realistic appraisal of how digital textbooks/ebooks will impact the educational system at this point in time. As what I’ve said, no single option can stand alone given the developmental needs of children.

      • Life Insurance Philippines

        If you’ve watched the video on Khan Academy, it’s not merely ebooks. Check it out before you shoot it. Kids get to learn at their own speed. Teachers get to see which particular idea a particular kid is having a hard time and address it in real time.

        Here’s what a kid had to say about it:

        “My name is Ben and I am 11 years-old when I was 9 and 10 I hated math so much that when working on it, I would sometimes skip over things! But when my brother discovered Khan Academy, and encouraged me to try it, I was reluctant but I tried it. Now, I’m a total lover of math and lots of other school subjects, thanks to Khan Academy, and GOD”

        Here’s what a teacher had to say about it:

        “I’m retired and a math tutor for a non-profit organization that helps people get the GED Degree. I use Khan video’s and problems as student assignments for both homework and preparation for class. Using Khan material allows me to spend more valuable “face to face” time with my students working on areas they need help – and my students love the Khan material. Also, the coaching reports allow me to see what material the student was using and what problems they were encountering before they walk in the door. The Khan material has significantly improved the effectiveness of our tutoring sessions and has saved me a lot of time — Thanks for me and my students.”

      • Kai Yoton

        Digital has its merits, but with your reasoning and with the statements that you’ve posted here, I sincerely suggest you dip your toes in the real world first before you go any further.

        That is for you to have a wider, systematic, and more substantial view of how education, and teaching, works in the real world.

  • haybuhay69

    10 computers in a highschool with more than 500 students? parang mas maganda nga kung libro nalang.

  • noypi_07

    likewise people who have been to the countryside and netizens who’ve seen poor villages’ schools will surely agree, and i’m sure the good senator is fully knowledgeable on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs…

  • koolkid_inthehouse

    Exactly. more teachers, schools and textbooks to remote areas. Premium wages to teachers who has to walk, cross rivers and climb mountains just to reach the far flung schools.

  • GProf007

    First off, I believe the study being used by the group is in support of their cause… there are other studies that say that having computers do improve learning… being in IT myself… I’m surprised that this group think other-wise… man, students now a days have an entire library in the tip of their fingers… I remember I didn’t have such convenience when I was a student and had to purchase books and have them shipped to the Philippines for me to get the information needed – for me to complete my thesis. Second, having a bill (which might become a law) is different from simply having budget allotment… why? Once it is law then it is “required” to be implemented… these people from DepEd will not have any excuse to not implement it. Third, I agree that teacher’s need to be retrained and retooled… and in a way, we definitely need more teachers (maybe some of them can teach). Forth, I’m tired of people simply giving comments – such as this group of “IT experts”… why not they do their part and give something back to the country rather than being a watchdog… anong mangyayari kung puro watchdog lang? Napwede naman gumalaw… like what? Being opensource advocates and IT professionals… why not their group come-up with an online “free-collaborative” educational platform that will help forward education in our country… textbooks tend to get outdated… imagine the printing cost… and after a couple of years… they’re just useful for recycling since the information is outdated… these IT experts can come up with that said platform… have it placed on the web… where information (tests, lectures, etc.) can be updated by teachers… resources (printing, etc.) shared between areas and schools… and other features (that I believe they and DepEd can talk about)… sparking bayanihan spirit (sharing resources). This was an idea of a group of students during the Microsoft Imagine Cup a few years back. I believe it is high time that we stop simply giving comments and like JFK to the Americans said “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.

    • koolkid_inthehouse

      computers will help but most likely it will be a nuisance. concentrate on solving the class problem on the blackboard. Most likely electricity is almost non-existing in some areas, computers needs maintenance often expensive, for software updates it needs continue connection to the internet. It’s better to use brain power to solve school problems.

    • RyanF1

      Having “an entire library in the tip of their fingers” is not going to help them if they haven’t the requisite skills needed for the proper collection, organization, comprehension, and dissemination of accumulated information.
      In all likelihood mag-lilibang lang sila. Overuse of the ‘Net in the States has already led to an epidemic of cheating and plagiarism in the so-called Digital Generation. Instead of doing their own readings and creating their own book reports, they seek-out the cliff notes and condensed reviews and then fake their reports from those sources. It leads to a decline in cognition and critical thinking skills owing to pursuits aimed at gaming the system, instead of being skillful at playing within the rules.
      You in IT of all places should appreciate the need for maintaining critical thinking skills. Doesn’t lazy thinking contribute to poor code?

      • Kai Yoton

        Exactly. Hey, so-called Life Insurance of the Philippines, read this well written comment by RyanF1. It will really elevate your thinking.

  • wawa2172

    Hmmm.. which ever way…computers are needed in public schools at kung libro ang hanap nang mga teachers they can asked for it from another lawmaker. Computer hardware when connected to net would help students to do research and it would provide them access to eBooks where most are downloadable from net. Ang dapat iwasan lang is to allow the students to play the game na paborito nang bayan: DOTA!!!

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