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Columns - Ike Señeres
Written by Ike Señeres   
Tuesday, 13 July 2010 19:41

 

NO HOLDS BARRED (076)

By Ike Señeres

 

Alternative-learning System

 

P aul Soriano, Executive Director of the Adopt-A-School Program (ASP) of the Department of Education (DEPED) says that there are about 9-million to 16-million children in the Philippines that are considered as out-of -chool youth (OSY). These are the children who should be targeted to become the beneficiaries of the Alternative-Learning System (ALS) of the DEPED, a system that includes the Home-Study Program (HSP) also of the DEPED.

 

One wonders why there would be that many children who are now out of school, considering that public schools are free to everyone who is of school age in this country. I found out that the reasons for this problem are very simple: the children could not afford the transport costs, the meal costs, and at times, could not even afford the clothing costs. One other reason, which is rather surprising, is the high incidence of teenage pregnancies, a problem that drives many girls out of school.

 

Jose P. Rizal once said that the youth is the hope of the fatherland, but what is going to be the future of this country if the youth do not have hope, do not even have the right opportunities to have brighter futures? How are we going to reconcile the past aspirations of Dr. Rizal with the present realities that the futures of these children are practically hopeless?

 

I consider myself lucky that after being exposed to the information and communications technologies (ICT), I have recently gained some new experiences in the mass-media and broadcast technologies, particularly in cable-and-satellite television broadcasting. In reality however, these two technologies are very much related, and that is the reason why we are now talking about the convergence of these technologies.

 

Computerization and automation are the two buzz words that have become very popular in the technology circles. Because of this, it has become the knee-jerk reaction of technology planners to computerize and automate everything. While I do not disagree that this is a good direction to take, these planners should also consider the cost implications of their technology choices.

 

A monthly subscription to a cable television account costs only about 500-pesos a month and that comes with free installation. A monthly subscription to a satellite-television account costs only about 300 pesos a month, with a one-time entry fee of about 7,500 pesos. These are commercial rates that are still subject to academic discounts.

 

A used personal computer would cost about 5,000 pesos, whereas a used television set would cost only about 1,500 pesos. It would cost several thousands of pesos to pay for educational software, whereas it would cost only a pittance to produce learning videos. Computers would require a lot of maintenance, whereas television sets are practically maintenance free. These are some of the reasons why videos are more practical to use as learning tools compared to software, at least in a developing country like ours.

 

Fortunately for the DEPED, a law has been passed that gives tax incentives to companies that would donate any item of value to the DEPED, for any educational use. Taking full advantage of this law, I am now in the process of establishing the Social Education Network (SEN), also to be known as the SEN Channel, a 24-hour educational channel that will be available through cable, satellite, Internet and mobile broadcasting.

 

The primary objective of the SEN Channel is to support the ALS. The secondary objective is to support the conventional schools of the DEPED, by providing for at least one television set in every classroom. Considering the cost implications, this is a more-doable goal, compared to the very-costly goal of providing for at least one computer in every classroom.

 

As planned in coordination with the ASP, six hours of programming will be dedicated to elementary subjects, while another six hours will be dedicated to high-school subjects. The rest of the remaining hours will be used for teacher training, adult education, professional review courses and vocational learning.

 

Through the efforts of Dr. Virginia Teodosio of the University of the Philippines, several hundred cooperatives will purchase satellite units so that the children of coop members could take all of the courses being offered. # # #

 

Watch KA IKING LIVE! Saturdays 8 pm to 9 pm in Global News Network (GNN), Channel 21 in Destiny Cable. Email iseneres@yahoo.com or text +639293605140 for local cable listings. Visit www.senseneres.blogspot.com

 


Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 July 2010 19:45
 

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