Press Release
June 15, 2010

To make Filipinos equipped on I.T. globally competitive

Senator Edgardo J. Angara is leading the Senate in its pursuit of a legislation to integrate computer education into the curriculum of students in as early as the elementary level.

"In our efforts to recover from lost economic grounds, our people needs to be updated on the latest advances in technology. The youth must be scientifically and technically prepared to fully tap their inner talents and contribute to national development," said Angara, former University of the Philippines President.

Senate Bill 909 seeks to promote computer literacy by including basic computer applications and programs in primary schools, with the aim to produce highly-skilled workers in programming, digitally-aided design, hardware, networking and software development.

The bill comprises, among others, three important factors: first is the creation of the Board of Computer Education, which will asses, supervise and monitor the accreditation of schools; provide the curriculum for computer-aided logic, math and science education in the elementary level; and monitor over all performances of the schools and the students.

Secondly, the bill will promote the Build-Operate-Transfer scheme of the program, which will include facilitating the training of teachers on computer literacy and maintenance and provide apprenticeships to qualified students into the facilities maintenance component of their education. This is pursuant to Republic Act 6957, the act authorizing the private sector to build and operate infrastructure facilities and later on transfer ownership to the (local) government.

Finally, the bill will put in place a voucher system for specialized computer education in 19 of the poorest provinces of the country. Under this provision, qualified students who completed secondary school will be allowed to take competitive aptitude tests. Upon passing the test, they can avail of vouchers from the partner agency or through the local unit of the Board to enroll in a computer school of their choice.

For the next Congress, the passing of this bill into law will be timely. In the 2009 Global I.T. Report released by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the Philippines has further slipped from its 2008 ranking of 81st in terms of Network Readiness to 85th. In 2007 the country ranked 69th.

Angara stresses, "This bill is intended to prepare the Filipino youth to meet the technological challenges of the new century."

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