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Second term in offing for flagship project on IT in Schools

24 March 2011

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The iSchools project in Philippines for IT in education has come a long way since it commenced in 2007. The Government is now focused on ensuring its sustainability.

The Philippine Commission on ICT (CICT), which is set to complete its school ICT project by June 2011 will focus on ensuring the sustainability of the programme.

iSchools project, a flagship project of CICT, has provided internet-abled computer laboratories to 1,000 public high schools and trained roughly 19,200 school personnel on IT for education initiatives.

“We are now trying to complete our deliverables and make sure that all schools get appropriate IT training,” said Christian Placido Calma, CICT Project Development Officer and the Project Content Development Head.

The project roll-out started on 2007.

One of the challenges faced by the iSchools program in its first three years of implementation is the lack of connectivity given the geographic location – the schools are situated in areas beyond or barely within the reach of mobile broadband providers.

Meanwhile, Calma said, CICT together with its partner State Universities and Colleges ensure that every school beneficiary should have electricity to be able to use the computers and access the internet.

“Before we give out the computers, we have to make sure that the schools would be able to use the computers because if there is no electricity there is no point in giving the computers.” Calma added. CICT does project briefings to the school personnel before the schools are officially given computers.

“Were not just giving computers, they have counterpart responsibility—taking care of the electricity, they have to make sure that they pay for the internet, and ensure the security of the school so that the units do not get stolen,” he said.

Calma said the agency has a yearly programme assessment in order for them to have better ideas to sustain the project. He adds they coordinate with stakeholders on how to improve the hardware.

“Given that we have a tropical climate, sometimes there is a certain hardware that is better suited for the provinces, so we try to adapt to those needs,” he cited.

Calma said the agency used to deploy Cathode Ray Tube monitors which consumes more electricity.

“When we learnt that some schools have problems in terms of budget for electricity, we resorted to LCD monitors which are cost efficient,” Calma said.

Air-conditioning units are also provided in the school laboratories to maintain a certain temperature for the computers, he added.

Community sustainability workshops are also conducted in line with the iSchool programme. The Local Government Unit and the Parents and Teachers Association representatives are invited to brainstorm ideas on how to sustain the funds and to set the long term goals for the project.

“There’s always an aspect of dialogue before moving to the second phase,” he said.

The iSchools project is supported by the CICT eGovernment fund, a special annual allocation from the government for IT-related projects.

Source : Futuregov

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