Press Release
September 19, 2007

Cyber learning not a cure-all for RP's educational woes - Loren

Senator Loren Legarda warned yesterday that the Department of Education's Cyber Education Project has the potential to wreak havoc on the country's already deteriorating quality of education if implemented improperly.

"Cyber education is, without debate, the way of the future. Yes, it has been implemented successfully in many countries," said Loren. "However, cyber education cannot be peddled as a cure-all for what's ailing our educational system."

Loren explained that while cyber education promotes transfer of information through the use of the internet and virtual teacher training modules, it does not ensure learning on the part of students because it does not provide interactive communication.

"Nothing beats real teachers in imparting knowledge since they are able to gauge the individual progress of students, unlike computer-based distance learning modules.," she said.

"Likewise, we should not forget that social interaction is very important in the learning process."

Loren stressed that any cyber education project to be implemented by DepEd should be tailor-made for prevailing conditions at Philippine schools nationwide. Thus, she said it is important for Congress to look into the project.

"We cannot just adopt the systems that worked for other countries and use them in the Philippines. If we do that, this cyber education project may just prove to be yet another ill-conceived experiment on improving the quality of our educational system," she said.

Considering the P5.8 billion which the DepEd said will be used to fund the first phase of the project, Loren said it should be determined first if the amount can be put to better use like in the purchase of reusable textbooks and in the construction of badly needed classrooms.

"Our government has very limited resources, so it is the duty of Congress to determine that taxpayers' money are used judiciously," Loren said.

"Filipinos are among the best teachers in the world, sought after by other countries. The fact is that we lack teachers, and this lack can not be addressed by the adoption of every newfangled idea that comes."

Loren emphasized that to improve education, the country should go back to the basics by raising the salaries and benefits of teachers, by providing them training continuously and by addressing the lack of classrooms, textbooks and other educational materials.

"We should motivate our teachers instead of giving them starvation pay which forces them to work abroad," she said.

At the same time, Loren said that the tools of cyber education - computers with access to the internet and television sets on classrooms - can even distract from the process of learning if employed improperly.

"At present, we have about 60 pupils per classroom. Do you think a television learning module will be able to impart knowledge on even half this number, or even keep their attention from wandering?" she asked.

"At most, cyber education should complement the efforts of real teachers and while at it not provide unwarranted distractions.

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