PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — YEAR 2008 served as the springboard for the Department of Education (DepEd) to formally launch the integration of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in the curriculum of the country’s basic public education system.
Although the ICT integration in public school curriculum has been ongoing for quite sometime, Education Secretary Jesli Lapus said that undertaking was more of what he described as “pocket size” or an individual undertaking of particular school or division.
During the 3rd National ICT in Basic Congress held at Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City, Lapus, a strong advocate of technology-enhanced education — a tool to extend the reach and quality of basic education — formally unveiled the DepEd’s five-year Information Communication Technology for Education (ICT4E) program which he said is nearing completion.
The DepEd has actually initiated a nationwide integration of ICT in public school in 2007 under the Cyber Education Project that has to be discontinued due to perceived association to the controversial $329.48-million National Broadband Network contract between the government and China’s Zhong Xing Telecommunications Equipment Corp. or what it more popularly known as the ZTE deal.
Lapus clarified that what was cancelled was the contract for cyber ed project but not the DepEd’s program for a nationwide ICT integration in public schools that led to the development and eventual implementation of ICT4E program.
Lapus, who was recently inducted into the Certiport Champions of Digital Literacy Hall of Fame, embraced technology as a strategic tool to bridge the gap in information and education in the country. also disclosed that for DepEd to achieve the learner-centered ICT4E vision, “the department will undertake the following activities such as; completely integrate ICT into the curriculum; intensify competency-based professional development programs; establish the necessary ICT infrastructure; and develop processes and systems for governance and management.”
It was also this year (2008) that DepEd placed second as the government agency with the highest public approval rating in the survey conducted by Pulse Asia recently while Lapus himself topped list of Cabinet secretary with 62% percent public approval.
The DepEd likewise claimed that it has recorded gains in its commitment to make quality basic education accessible to as many learners through policy reforms and peak resource mobilization, and posting substantial improvement in national student test ratings, among its achievements.
Lapus attributed this with the increased budget by 22%, from P122 billion in 2006 to P149 billion in 2008. This was augmented by private sector investment to public education through DepEd’s Adopt-a-School program after it was re-launched in 2006, with the private sector contribution soared to P4.05 billion or a big leap from P300 annually in the previous years.
DepEd has also undertaken the school-based management (SBM) project which aims to give school principals more leeway in exercising discretion for judgment to get all schools to continuously improve through school improvement planning.
Likewise, the teachers’ six-hour actual teaching load had been ratified by the middle of this year following the intense lobbying of Teachers Dignity Coalition not only in DepEd head office but also in Malacañang.