Why isn’t CyberEd dead yet? My reaction to an optimist.

I woke up this morning with an e-mail from Lester Cavestany, a teacher from the UNIS Hanoi, sending me a link to his article, Why We Should Support CyberEd. The recipients are undisclosed but in my case, it is clear why. At the end of his post he encourages everyone to show their support for the CyberEd. Even before I begin this, I say shoot it in the foot.

He presents seven points which at first glance present a clear and powerful case for CyberEd. However, after I wiped the sleepiness of my face (it is only 5:30am), I realized that these are arguments I have heard before. I offer my reaction to each of the seven points.

1) CyberEd will level the playing field

We all know that private schools are somewhat better than public schools. And urban public schools usually have higher standards than the ones in the rural areas.

The disparities can be lessened by CyberEd! By accessing short instructional videos presented by “master teachers”, public school students and teachers can increase their knowledge in the subject areas of Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. The “master teachers” will also prepare lesson plans that go with their videos so that public school teachers will be guided in their teaching. They will also have access to shared online resources including worksheets, websites, etc. As a teacher, I know that this kind of support will immediately increase the quality of teaching and learning, for sure!

MY REACTION: And this levels the playing field how? I think there is a confusion as to what exactly is the cause of this ‘uneveness’ in the playing field. It is neither content nor manner. What causes this uneveness is even more basic — infrastructure. The day all schools in the country have a 1 to 30 classroom to student ratio is the day I can call anything remotely leveled. Then of course there is the question of sanitation, food, and administrative competence — all things not addressed or “leveled” by the CEP. It is obvious that private schools have a higher standard than public schools. Why? Because they are able to. They are able to create the ideal learning environment and thus focus on education itself.

Now imagine a classroom in the mountain regions with no electricity, no water but with an abundance of mosquitoes and rebels on the run. Then the teacher turns on a small generator (the CEP package includes a generator, just in case) that now hums in the distance. They turn on the TV. The “master teacher” (I hate that phrase) begins his/her lecture on human genetics. The teacher is incredibly articulate and has a mastery of the subject matter, but the students don’t understand a word of English. Then they get bored since they’re just staring at a screen with just one guy talking for forty minutes. After which, the teacher begins to read the lesson plan on human genetics and struggles with it. She barely understands it herself and it is now 3PM and she’s still thinking about what to bring home for dinner.

So this CEP levels the playing field how? The way I see it, it will only further amplify this uneveness and thus degrade the already ineffective educational system we have. And even if we say that the CEP works, how can we be sure that its content is something everyone will be able to use? For this to truly make teaching equitable, teachers too have to be prepared to use them. They will have to be “master teachers” in their own right, and that is simply something the CEP does not provide for.

2) CyberEd will assist teacher-training

The “master teachers” in the instructional videos don’t have to be teachers. Some of them can be resource presenters. For example, the topic is about lawmaking, the presenter can be a senator. So, the public school teacher and the students learn first-hand from experts. Teachers will improve their subject-matter mastery and this will boost their confidence in teaching. Plus of course, with CyberEd, teachers can have access to online degrees to further their professional development.

Actually, no. The CEP provides no assistance to teachers whatsoever so I can simply sweep this point aside.

But since it makes a nice, warm and fuzzy point for us teachers, I’d just like to say that if the CEP works the way described above, then that would be nice. Having resource people who are actually involved with the subject matter is always interesting. However, I’d like us to have a more guarded optimism towards this. Teachers attend seminars, workshops and lectures all the time, and are engaged in these for hours on end, so I don’t expect a 40-minute TV show to magically improve everyone and whisk our problems away.

3) CyberEd will standardize education

Depending on its implementation, CyberEd can promote consistency in the standards of teaching and assessments in public schools. I can see the potential of having an online portal where teachers from anywhere in the country can access easy-to-use lesson plans and digital resources prepared by experts. We have a national curriculum but its delivery varies from school to school depending on available resources, human and/or financial. By using the same videos, lesson plans, and online resources, there can be more consistency in the delivery of the national curriculum. We are already seeing improvements in our students’ performance in the standardized tests, I’m sure we will see more when we implement CyberEd.

Oh, my. This is terrifying.

I apologize beforehand, but I am an opponent of strict standardization. I believe that education is not just about the message but the messenger. Just as how we teachers realize that all students learn differently, I also believe that all teachers teach differently. While I have no problem with benchmarks, I do have a problem with tyranny.

“By using the same videos, lesson plans, and online resources, there can be more consistency in the delivery of the national curriculum.”

Wow. Consistency. National curriculum. Reading these words, I tend to forget that we live in an archipelago with as many cultures as there are islands. Have you ever spoken to an Aeta about evolution? I have. And they don’t believe it. For them, it is another false religion since the truth — that man rose from the Earth and will return to it — comes so simply to them. It may sound absurd to us, but then we are not Aeta. We do not belong to the world they are in, and so what right do we have to tell them, “Hindi po yan ang nangyari…”

So why don’t we invite that senator to talk to the Aeta about how a bill becomes a law? Or let’s invite a Pisay geometry teacher to tell them about circle theory. We want to standardize education right? Even if it means alienating the very objects of education by making the material something completely irrelevant to them.

And don’t even get me started on the issue of language. Please.

It is this point alone that will keep me vehemently opposed to the Cyber Education Project.

4) CyberEd will improve communication

CyberEd will promote on-line networking among public schools and DepEd offices. Administrators and teachers will have access to email and websites. Memoranda, letters, reminders, and all kinds of messages will be communicated instantly. I don’t think there’s a need to point out the benefits of having direct communication in any organization, and in any relationship for that matter. It’s simply a must!

This point is controversial at the least. The CEP is tied into another controversial project, the NBN. And the big question about these projects is this — will the government commission a new network infrastructure or build on top of the existing ones established by private companies? This is a very hot topic for transparency and accountability.

And yes, the CEP will improve communication — for those teachers who know how to use the computer. Let’s teach them that first — too bad the CyberEducation Project doesn’t include that. I rest my case.

5) CyberEd will lessen our dependence on textbooks

Back in 2000, Microsoft’s Bill Gates predicted that “Less of the school budgets will be spent on textbooks and more on learning through technology.”[3] Bill Gates’ dream is obviously a textbook publisher’s nightmare. I won’t be surprised to see some of the textbook publishers supporting protests against CyberEd. In the not-so-distant future, when we really get our act together, we may not even have to print documents because each public school student will have their own laptop. Believe it or not, many schools abroad are now providing a laptop for every student, as early as Grade 1.

It is no secret that I hate textbooks. But I dislike the CEP even more.

I don’t think that using textbooks for the primary level is a bad idea. Since the majority of our student populace is still learning how to read, write and hate math, it is good and feasible for us to invest in textbooks. Quite simply, the one laptop per child is still too far off for us.

Of course, the main issues with textbooks here in the Philippines would be (1) DepEd procurement and (2) inaccuracies. These two require different policy recommendations and the CEP is not one of them. To bring the content online and into the TV set is not how we solve corruption and reliance on lousy writers. For that we need better transparency mechanisms to ensure we get the books we need. And if that alone is too difficult for us to do, I wonder how it would be for more ambitious projects.

6) CyberEd will increase Internet access in the country, especially in rural areas

The December 2000 Report of the Web-Based Education Commission to the President and the Congress of the United States has this to say about the Power of the Internet for Learning: the Internet enables education to occur in places where there is none, extends resources where there are few, expands the learning day, and opens the learning place. It connects people, communities, and resources to support learning. It adds graphics, sound, video, and interaction to give teachers and students multiple paths for understanding. the Web is a medium today’s kids expect to use for expression and communication. Not surprisingly, the Commission made key recommendations that all point toward the implementation of tech projects with features similar to that of CyberEd’s.

What’s wrong with this picture? Right. It’s the United States’.

Internet penetration is not quite as ubiquitous here in the Philippines as it is in the United States. Not even all my students in PSHS have regular Internet access and they belong in the Middle Class and up. For this, we have to build up our fundamental IT and network infrastructure. The CEP alone will not increase Internet access in the country, and I am sure it hardly will.

According to the schematics of the CEP, not all schools in all rural areas will receive the project. Some schools will be part of a clustering system where students from different sitios will converge on one school with the CEP in place. How horrible is that? Besides walking two hours down the mountain to get to school, you walk another two hours to get to the city where an overpacked school awaits.

The CEP will use the Internet but it does not provide it. Yes, it relies on satellites to transmit lectures but for the Internet it will largely rely on either private sector networks or on the NBN which is good as dead. I can’t see how it will increase connectivity when it relies on what we have right now. Fixing that is something beyond the scope of the CEP.

7) CyberEd will help the marginalized and the disadvantaged!

Oxfam International says in their campaign, Education is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty… Education is a key to enable poor individuals and marginalized communities to take control of their lives and stand up for their rights. – We all know that this is true. We can argue about the different paths to social development, but we all recognize the central role played by education in helping the poor help themselves get out of poverty.

I couldn’t agree more. That is why the CEP has to go.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Quoting from my own previous article on the CEP,

A school is not just a building, with rooms full of books and chairs. It is also an integral part of a community, especially in rural areas. Local government units must sustain communities where children stay in school. There must be water, electricity and food. The mere fact that a lot of schools in our country lack these most basic necessities raises the question of how responsive, practical and responsible CEP can be.

Education is key, but it is not the only one. It has to work together with other basic needs such as food, shelter, health and infrastructure. We can fill up brains as much as we can but at the end of the day, what still matters for most is how much they have filled up their bellies and whether they can live for the next day. We always start with that, even before we can talk about feeding our people’s hearts and souls.

I believe in our country, but not the Cyber Education Project. It is unwieldy, impractical and an idea whose time has not yet come. I believe that our taxes don’t belong to projects such as this since there are still more urgent needs such as poverty and political alienation to respond to. It has been that way for decades and only when we solve that can we jump into the next century. The CEP’s time will come eventually, just not now.

Further reading:

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12 Comments

  1. Won’t argue against optimism, but how this translates to concrete practice and policy, like the CEP, is debatable.

    I agree with you on all counts. The CEP seems to have been formulated with a lot of assumptions that don’t exist (access to internet, student interest in watching a lecturer on screen, common language and context, etc.) It’s as if our country is an idealized homogeneous 3rd world society. Is it beneficial? There are advantages as well as disadvantages. Necessary? Gee, isn’t the internet already sprawling with lesson plans and “master” resources for teachers? Is it practical? Like you, I’d rather have my taxes spent on projects that concern what’s more urgent.

    On a rather theoretical level, I think CEP is a vehicle for educational imperialism. The content is dictated by masters who do not understand the local context of their audience. The method is reminiscent of what Paulo Freire calls ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’ where teachers and students are respectively viewed as mere depositors and depositories of information. But that’s just me. 🙂

  2. Dear Sir Martz,

    Thank you for your itemized critique of the reasons why we should support CyberEd.

    Not only am I an optimist, I am also a realist. I recognize that CyberEd is far from being the perfect project but it has strong positive points. I think CyberEd is a step in the right direction so we shouldn’t ask to “shoot it in the foot”.

    DepEd is currently modifying the plans and structure of CyberEd. Let’s contribute to the discussions and point out the areas that need to be improved or changed. We should also focus on facts, studies, and existing benchmarks, rather than personal opinions.

    At the end of the day, our loud praises and constructive criticisms will help create a synergized and improved CyberEd.

    Sincerely,
    Lester

  3. Thanks for dropping by, Lester. It’s a step in the right direction, sure. But a step too soon nonetheless. And if you want ‘facts, studies and existing benchmarks’ I suggest you take a look at the PDF published by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers. They offer material that respond directly to the Philippine situation. It also mentions a lot of the fine print that the general public isn’t aware of with regards to the CEP.

  4. Thanks for agreeing that it’s a step in the right direction. Whether or not it’s too soon, remains to be seen. I read in the Inquirer last weekend that DepEd is modifying CyberEd. I hope the views and facts presented by all stakeholders, especially the officers of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, are considered by DepEd. I hope they’re part of the review committee so that they can help revise/modify and scale-down/upgrade the features of this project to make it better and more effective for our public schools.

    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view_article.php?article_id=99728

  5. And whether they do take into account what all the stakeholders said remains to be seen as well. It’s a step in the right direction insofar as a little wishful thinking never hurt anyone — but even that alone may be a stretch. I suggest you take a look into the political aspects of this policy, since the nature of the contract, and the support and implementation mechanisms inherent in the program really divide the lines. This alone makes any effort to modify it moot and academic.

  6. Agree, too that it is a step towards the right direction. But towards whose right direction? With the country’s current state, is it more beneficial down to the country’s grassroots or to the government officials who tried to just sweep us under our feet but got caught?

    Agree that the political scenario should also be considered. That is part of being a real optimist/ realist.

  7. Here’s some reality for Lester :

    1. A DepEd that can’t print textbooks properly. If printed, wrong information abound ( go over the minutes of the senate hearing)
    2. A DepEd that can’t even make proper announcements of class suspension during typhoons ( watch the news today)
    3. A teacher who supports CyberEd in the Philippines but teaches in another foreign land

    How much more promoting education in cyberspace. Right direction but not the right time & not the right government.

  8. Importance of ICT International Standards
    SEISA AP/IT 2003
    October 2003 Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
    Takayuki K. Sato
    Chief Researcher, IT Infrastructure Division
    Center of International Cooperation for the Computerization (CICC), Japan
    This paper is originally written as “Harmonizing Global technical trends and Local requirements by International
    Standards” for SummIT 2000 (September 2000 Katmandu, Nepal) , then up dated for AOTS/JSA seminar (July 2002.
    Yokohama Japan), SEISA AP/IT-2002 (November 2002, Vientiane Lao PDR) and SEISA AP/IT-20023 (October 2003
    Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia).
    This paper is written as follow-up “Japanese Co-operative Activities for Asian Region in Area of IT
    Standardization” (October 1999 T. K. Sato –CICC, ). The previous paper is attached as a reference material for
    this paper.
    This paper express that the role of ICT international standard is becoming far more important than other
    technology/product area. It is necessary for all country and region to participate the international
    discussion for overcoming a digital divide due to the language and culture.
    ISO/IEC JTC1 (ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee One) is in responsibility to develop international
    standards for Information Technology. (note: Standards for Communication is developed by ICT-U. And
    there are many de-facto standards for ICT).
    Number of JTC1 standards is almost the same as that of all ISO or IEC, thus, JTC1 is the largest TC within
    ISO and IEC, Actually, JTC1, sometimes, behaves as independent group which is equivalent to ISO or IEC.
    Due to the importance of worldwide compatibility of ICT technology, ISO/IEC JTC1 SC22 WG20
    (internationalization) recommends that all JTC1 standards should cover a requirement for
    internationalization of related technology.
    1. National ICT plan should include “a plan to bridge a digital divide”
    Today, almost any country or region has a national ICT plan, program or strategy. The
    plan usually includes many types of elements. As the most offensive element, there is
    “ICT industry promotion plan” which expects a dramatic economical growth of the
    country/region by promoting ICT industry. In contrast to that, there might be the most
    defensive element that is “bridging a digital divide”. And normally there are many
    plan in between such as “adaptation of laws and regulations for digital economy”,
    “improving a productivity of industries by utilizing ICT power for better
    competitiveness”, ICT human resource development or the current hot topics of
    “e-government”…….
    Some of the elements are just options to the plan as a country choice. For example, ICT
    industry promotion plan may not necessary for some of the country. However,
    “bridging a digital divide” should be a “MUST” for any country or region. Because any
    country/region has some kinds of a digital divide to be overcome. In some countries, it
    would be a domestic issue such as education of minorities, but, for most of the under
    development countries, it would be a problem of a gap between the country and
    developed country (thus, it is international issue).
    Thus, each country/region must create its own “bridging a digital divide” program.
    None of bridging digital divide are the same each other.
    2. Usability and Availability balance
    Like national ICT strategy, digital divide also has many, almost independent each other,
    elements. Among the elements, at least, “usability” and “availability” are key words
    (and related each other).
    2-1. Usability (literacy)
    In some country, usability may mean “usability” for handicapped persons, or, “lack of
    educational opportunity for poor people”.
    However, for most of Asian countries, the most important “usability factor” is an ability
    to use ICT equipments “in daily language and familiar customs”. Some peoples may
    use ICT equipments in English with US custom, but it would not be a case for the
    majority of ordinary persons in Asia. If English and US custom should be used, then
    number of user will be limited and it is a digital divide by itself.
    To reach a critical mass of ICT users, it is impossible by providing an English solution
    only. Unless providing a ICT with local language/custom, number of ICT users will
    never reach to the critical mass, then the region never overcome a digital divide. Gap
    with developed countries may glow to wider and deeper.
    2-2. Availability
    If ICT solution is not widely available, even if usability is resolved, still there will be a
    digital divide.
    Some report says that narrow bandwidth of communication line is causing an
    availability problem. And even some is discussing a quality of power line.
    In a global network environment, an availability of same “state of the art” application is
    an important. The application program should be compatible and operable with in
    global network. If the application program is not available (even timing wise, no delay of
    introduction allowed), it causes a digital divide.
    Thus, in network, availability does mean “compatibility and interoperability” with
    foreign (and same) application also.
    2-3. Usability v.s. Availability
    “Usability” says that local language/custom is necessary and “Availability” says the
    compatible to foreign application is necessary. Those two requirements are very
    controversial. Shooting local uniqueness for “usability” may mean “incompatibility”.
    This message says “there is a strong needs of localized software while maintaining a
    compatibility with the same software with “other locals””. Normally, adapting local
    custom may cause an incompatibility.
    3. There are many possible solutions to meet with local requirements
    Many peoples believe that once local requirements are clearly defined, then
    development of local solution is possible. As a reality, even if local requirements are
    defined, if those are primitive requirements, there are many different implementations
    possible to meet with the same requirements.
    Different implementation cause “incompatibility problem” between different
    implementations. The incompatibility causes another “digital divide”. This is why
    standardization of the requirements is needed to lead the implementations under the
    same principle, such that the solutions are compatible each other.
    There is a needs to define the local requirements with the common technology in mind.
    Once requirements are defined in international standard, usually there are many
    objections in related country saying “the requirements are not well reflecting the real
    national needs and/or there are much better and easy solution possible to implement”.
    Most of those voices are forgetting the compatibility issue.
    There is a strong needs to choose one “compatible” method out from many possible
    solution. The choice should be clearly disclosed to the world developers, unless wide
    diversification of the solutions may occur, and that causes “incompatibility”.
    4. International standard
    4-1. Internationalization (i18n) and Standards are the keys
    Only way to resolve this problem is to use an application under i18n guideline, and
    disclose the local unique requirements as a part of international standards. Unless, no
    one pays attention on the cultural oriented requirements of under developing regions.
    About the i18n technology, section 2 of the 1999 is discussing well on it. In short, there
    are many ways are possible to provide a local solution. However, only i18n technology
    (out of many others) can guarantee the “availability”. It is necessary, all local solutions
    to be provided per the i18n technology.
    The local uniqueness should be described as a set of data to be used (and usable) by the
    i18n technology. Only when the data is described the way, it is be adaptable by i18n.
    For this, the requirements must be provided as a part of international standards. This
    is why disclosure of the local requirements via international standards is important.
    Therefore, from both “availability” and “usability” view, international standard is a key
    success factor. This is why “international standard” is important for Asian countries.
    Section-1 of the 1999 paper is discussing the importance of the standard as well as a
    new issues of the standards from Asian view point.
    4-2. International Standards is a place for “compromise”
    It is clear that the requirement from “Usability” is aiming more uniqueness, and
    “Availability” may drive to “much common for anybody”. Because this is requirement
    of almost opposite direction, there is a needs of COMPROMISE. There is no solution to
    make both requirements fully satisfied. The compromised agreement is only reachable
    at the table of international standard. This is why international standard is
    important.
    This importance is unique to cultural issue within ICT,
    In many cases, the needs of international standard is explained from view point of
    economy and trade issue such as WTO TBT agreement, However, for the cultural issues
    of ICT, it is far more than simple trade and economy issue.
    The word compromise may give some negative impression, thus, I like to use a word
    harmonization:
    Harmonization between “Global technology trends (and requirements)” and “Unique to
    local requirements” should be done through a process of development of international
    standards. This is why international standard is important to national ICT strategy.
    This is totally new concept, new from traditional goal of simple world uniformity of the
    international standards.
    Note: In 1999 paper, only importance of the international standard was expressed, after the paper, it is recognized that
    the importance is far larger than what it was thought in 1999.
    5- This is significant for Asian countries.
    As described in Chapter-1 of 1999 paper, for Asian countries, participation for the
    discussion of the state of the art (and Western culture driven) technologies is an issue by
    itself.
    On top of that, the international Standard Developing Organizations (SDO) are moving
    toward “utilize De-facto standard more than it used be”. This is another issue, because
    consortia for the De-facto standard development are mostly like a club of developed
    countries. It is also very difficult even to become a member of the consortia.
    6. Japanese program against the problems.
    Japan does see the problem and has tried to provide an assistance for Asian countries to
    overcome the issues. The program detail is well described in the 1999 paper as AFSIT,
    SIG, MLIT and AHTS.
    AFSIT is a long standing forum (15 years) of related public sector representative of each
    country
    SIG are MLIT are special mission to resolve defined issue at the AFSIT
    AHTS (which is new) is a seminar for standardization.
    In Year 2001, AFSIT-15 and AHTS-3 (SEISA AP/IT-2001) were held in Nepal, (AHTS
    has changed to SEISA AP/IT since 2000).
    From 2002, the AFSIT is extended to AFIT (Asian form for Information Technology).
    AFIT-1 and SEISA AP/IT-2002 were held in Lao PDR and Singapore
    After closing MLIT in 2001, from 2002, Documentation Style Information Interchange
    standard for Asian requirements (DocSII) is opened.
    In 2003, AFIT-2, SEISA AP/IT-2003, DocSII-1 symposium are held in Mongolia
    7. What happened after 1999 paper?
    After the 1999 paper was presented, AFSIT-13/MLIT-4 were held in Yangon Myanmar
    and along with significant progress, (as usual). As a project, there was a significant
    progress on Khmer and Lao scripts, and Philippino currency sign specially at the JTC1
    SC2 WG2 meeting on March 2000.
    In addition, many new facts has been noticed.
    Among them, there are three very important discovery should be reported for the
    SUMMIT2000 for every bodies concern.
    7-1. Needs of in-depth technical lecture.
    Because IT technology is moving very fast, and standard development process is
    proactive (which means that the standard development itself is a new technology
    development), the good understanding of technology is essential. If proposal is out of the
    technology, such as using conventional technology, the proposal would be rejected at the
    international discussion.
    In SEISA AP/IT-2001, following technology will be lectured
    – Internationalization and Localization
    – Character and Glyph relation in modern computer
    – New sorting technology
    7-2. More than one person should be trained.
    In international discussion, the proposes are reviewed by new technologies, then,
    usually, the proposes are returned for re-consideration. Or, new technologies are
    trained in AHTS. In the past, the participant and/or trainee was a single person from
    the country in most of the cases.
    Even if he/she brought back the new information, in the country, it was experienced that
    there were strong oppositions on the new technology. And the person becomes orphan
    within the country. It is necessary that multiple persons should listen the same story.
    SEISA AP/IT-2000 invited two participants from the (selected) countries.
    7-3. Template development project and need of national standard
    After SEISA AP/IT-2001, countries have understood a principle of back ground
    technology of the modern coded character set. However, movement for real
    implementation of national solution is slow. The most significant reason for the
    slowness might be implementation technology. For this, template development project
    for technology transfer was opened in 2002. The template is available upon request.
    Further, a needs of national standard is recognized. ISO/IEC 10646 is too large
    standard and also is based on the state of the art technology, the real implementation
    method of that is not well understood by developing countries. Therefore, explanation
    paper for each country is need. The paper should cover an in-depth and tuned for target
    country. Thus the paper should be a national standard.
    SEISA AP/IT 2002 and 2003 are focusing on the national standard development.
    7-4. Beyond the standard activities are the “must”
    Even if standard is developed per the new technology (as a result of above), without
    having real implementation, it may mean nothing.
    It was noticed, after establish the standard, following activities beyond standard
    development are necessary.
    – Transfer of the new technologies. (remember this is a cultural matter, each country
    should do something, and nothing is available automatically from developed
    country)
    – Intrim technology development until real solution on the new technology is
    available.
    – Migration program from existing solution to the new solution
    All of above are not a part of standard development activities, but those are really
    necessary work to be considered as a set with the standard development.
    In addition, there is one more problem in different nature were noticed, which is project
    justification. To justify “by only a good will of Japan” is becoming difficult. Projects are
    not affordable by saying “Asian cooperation is important”. It is necessary to have a
    requirements from country/region who are seeing a benefit.
    8. Conclusion
    – As a part of national/regional IT strategy, a bridging plan of a digital divide is
    unavoidable.
    – As a part of the bridging plan development, harmonization of the cultural
    requirements and Global technology is necessary.
    – There are many different solution possible for the same national requirements, but
    unless having one uniform to every solution, the differences may cause another
    digital divide.
    – The harmonization should be done through standardization process.
    – This is why industrial standard strategy is important in the national IT program.
    – After international standard is developed, national standard that is based on the
    international standard should be developed.
    – This is particularly important for Asian countries.
    – Unfortunately, Any of single Asian country can do the job by herself alone.
    – Also, we are still in learning phase
    – Thus, It is necessary that Asian countries must get together
    – Japan has been providing an assistance (for get together standard activities) and
    willing to continue. But it is becoming difficult.
    – For future results, the projects need a help form all Asian country/region to continue
    the programs.
    ——end of 2003 up date paper——
    Takayuki K. Sato
    Chief researcher, R&D division, CICC (Center of International Cooperation for
    Computerization)
    sato@net.cicc.or.jp
    T: +81-3-3798-5085
    F: +81-3-3798-7294
    Mita 43 MT-Buldg., 15F., 3-13-16, Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0073 Japan
    Secretariat: AFSIT, AFIT, AFSIT-SIG, MLIT, DocSII and SEISA AP/IT

    The Philippine government signed 5 agreements with the Chinese government that includes funding for the Department of Education’s (DepEd) Cyber Education Project. The project is worth US$ 465.5 million (around P26.48 billion). The Cyber Education Project will cover 23,549 public schools nationwide and 665 Alternative Learning System (ALS) Learning Centers.
    The 5 agreements were signed last April 21 during a visit by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to China. The total worth of the agreements is around US$ 904.38 million.
    26 billion pesos can do a lot of good things for the country’s computer education programs. Let’s just wish the Cyber Education Project will not become another
    overpricing issue at DepEd.
    Update (7 Aug 2007):
    When I first heard about this big computerization project, I was hoping for the best even though inside me I still worry that corrupt government officials along with their friends and relatives would again use this to increase their ill-gotten wealth. The project has not started yet but it is already surrounded by controversies. Read the story in Inquirer.

    1) CyberEd will level the playing field
    We all know that private schools are somewhat better than public schools. And urban public schools usually have higher standards than the ones in the rural areas.
    The disparities can be lessened by CyberEd! By accessing short instructional videos presented by “master teachers”, public school students and teachers can increase their knowledge in the subject areas of Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. The “master teachers” will also prepare lesson plans that go with their videos so that public school teachers will be guided in their teaching. They will also have access to shared online resources including worksheets, websites, etc. As a teacher, I know that this kind of support will immediately increase the quality of teaching and learning, for sure!
    2) CyberEd will assist teacher-training
    The “master teachers” in the instructional videos don’t have to be teachers. Some of them can be resource presenters. For example, the topic is about lawmaking, the presenter can be a senator. So, the public school teacher and the students learn first-hand from experts. Teachers will improve their subject-matter mastery and this will boost their confidence in teaching. Plus of course, with CyberEd, teachers can have access to online degrees to further their professional development.
    3) CyberEd will standardize education
    Depending on its implementation, CyberEd can promote consistency in the standards of teaching and assessments in public schools. I can see the potential of having an online portal where teachers from anywhere in the country can access easy-to-use lesson plans and digital resources prepared by experts. We have a national curriculum but its delivery varies from school to school depending on available resources, human and/or financial. By using the same videos, lesson plans, and online resources, there can be more consistency in the delivery of the national curriculum. We are already seeing improvements in our students’ performance in the standardized tests, I’m sure we will see more when we implement CyberEd.
    4) CyberEd will improve communication
    CyberEd will promote on-line networking among public schools and DepEd offices. Administrators and teachers will have access to email and websites. Memoranda, letters, reminders, and all kinds of messages will be communicated instantly. I don’t think there’s a need to point out the benefits of having direct communication in any organization, and in any relationship for that matter. It’s simply a must!
    5) CyberEd will lessen our dependence on textbooks
    Back in 2000, Microsoft’s Bill Gates predicted that “Less of the school budgets will be spent on textbooks and more on learning through technology.”[3] Bill Gates’ dream is obviously a textbook publisher’s nightmare. I won’t be surprised to see some of the textbook publishers supporting protests against CyberEd. In the not-so-distant future, when we really get our act together, we may not even have to print documents because each public school student will have their own laptop. Believe it or not, many schools abroad are now providing a laptop for every student, as early as Grade 1.
    6) CyberEd will increase Internet access in the country, especially in rural areas
    The December 2000 Report of the Web-Based Education Commission to the President and the Congress of the United States has this to say about the Power of the Internet for Learning: the Internet enables education to occur in places where there is none, extends resources where there are few, expands the learning day, and opens the learning place. It connects people, communities, and resources to support learning. It adds graphics, sound, video, and interaction to give teachers and students multiple paths for understanding. the Web is a medium today’s kids expect to use for expression and communication. Not surprisingly, the Commission made key recommendations that all point toward the implementation of tech projects with features similar to that of CyberEd’s.
    7) CyberEd will help the marginalized and the disadvantaged!
    Oxfam International says in their campaign, Education is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty… Education is a key to enable poor individuals and marginalized communities to take control of their lives and stand up for their rights. – We all know that this is true. We can argue about the different paths to social development, but we all recognize the central role played by education in helping the poor help themselves get out of poverty.

  9. I will just sing nalang for the sick of Cuber Ed ^^
    “” Little Shiny Water “”
    “” Sleeping In the corner””
    Wahehehe ^^ Love You Guys

  10. I am with you to support you. I don’t want that our taxes should be used in such a project which is unnecessary at this particular time. Instead I shall go with you that this money should be used to provide basic amenities such as food, cloth and shelter to people.

    Regards
    Logicalis

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