Senator pushes progressive ICT sector to boost distance learning

A veteran senator stressed the need to develop a progressive Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector to boost the government's distance learning efforts.

Sen. Edgardo Angara said it is vital that e-learning continue be allowed to continue benefiting children, especially those in remote areas.

"If we are able to connect each person in the archipelago through broadband, for example, we would be able to provide quality education even to those in the most distant barrios," Angar said at the first International Conference on Open and Distance E-Learning (ICODEL).

Organized by the UP Open University, the conference brought together stakeholders and the leaders of the distance learning institutions throughout the country.

Angara, who chairs the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, also suggested the introduction of virtual classrooms.

This would help address the perennial scarcity in physical resources especially in public schools, he said.

"Imagine having enough virtual classrooms that we do not worry anymore about the lack of teachers, the lack of desks and the lack of books for every student," he said.

He said the ICT sector must look at all possible new methodologies, techniques and instruments in facilitating distance learning.

To accomplish this, he said the country needs qualified professionals with a progressive vision.

"We need dedicated leaders, and technology-savvy professionals. New technologies abound - developing so rapidly that gadgets become obsolete in three years, which is why we ought to harness it as a valuable instrument for distance learning," he said.

Distance learning had a very humble start in the Philippines in the 1950s in Iloilo through a program called the Farmers School on the Air.

But now, Angara said the Philippines is not far behind from the best distance learning providers in the world.

"The next step is to make e-learning even more accessible for each and every Filipino," he said. — TJD, GMA News

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