Reflection for Reporter # 1

The 1987 Philippine Constitution clearly states that Science and Technology (S &T) are essential for national development and progress. The State shall give priority to research and development, invention, innovation, and their utilization; and to S & T education, training, and services. It shall support indigenous, appropriate, and self-reliant, scientific and technological capabilities, and their application to the country’s productive systems and national life (Section 10 of Article IV). Moreover, Section 17 of Article XIV from the 1987 Philippine Constitution mandates the State to give priority to education, S&T, Arts, Culture and Sports with the goals of fostering patriotism and nationalism, accelerating social progress, and promoting total human liberation and development (de Leon, 2002).

In realizing the aforementioned statutes and national policies, the Philippine Department of Education (DepEd) stresses that Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) must be an integral part of all learning areas, both hardware and software.  Hence, according to the education department of the country, e-learning and the use and application of ICT must be employed in all subjects because this is now the most viable intervention in educational reform.

The Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Program or UNDP (2001) states, “ICT is a pervasive input to almost all human activities. It breaks barriers to human development in at least three ways: by breaking barriers to knowledge, by breaking barriers to participation and by breaking barriers to economic opportunity.” Even in the daily lives of teachers, the rapid advances in ICT can create new things such as storing information, retrieving information, handling, distributing and utilizing information. The advancement of ICT according to Ocampo (2002) is intertwined with globalization and together creates a new paradigm called the network age.

In this context, the education department of the country has just recently drafted the five–year Information Communication and Technology (ICT4E) strategic plan that seeks to link learners to global resources. According to Deped, it would be expected that all public elementary schools in the country would have computer laboratories by 2009.  On Philippine legislation, Senate Bill 2402 would require every commercial mobile service to contribute portions of its net revenue earnings from local text messages to the education department of the country.

However, Low quality and questionable reliability of the materials displayed on the web  are valid problems. A number of academics have already expressed their views about quality  of the information found on the web. According to Hung (2004), much of the information available on the Web has not received the rigorous editing and verification of facts through which traditional print must go.  Moreover, Connel & Tipple (1999) had a study on accuracy of information on the web using the Alta Vista search engine, while the results of the inquiry of Herring (2001) questioned the reliability and accuracy of web–based information.

More so, there are gaps, issues and problems that need to be addressed relating to the use and application of ICT in school apart from the quality of information.  Things like digital divide, lack of IT skills of teachers and students, unsupportive school administrators, commercialism of the internet, internet atmosphere congestion or traffic, among others.

As educators, what can we do now to address these issues?  First, there is a need for continuous re-training and well-defined capacity building programs for teachers that focus on individual skills as to the other uses and application of ICT.  Second, school administrators must be able to see the positive effect of the integration of ICT in the curriculum.  Lastly, teachers must be guided through school-based and the education department’s sponsored programs on capacity building by putting emphases on the benefits of ICT use as well as case presentations of the various experiences of teachers in the Philippines about ICT integration in the implementation of the school programs.

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