THE Philippines, a country where communication technology is rapidly growing and whose educational system is undergoing reform, has a potential to take a leadership role in the global e-learning map.
The recognition came recently from James Donovan, chairman of Global Online Association for Learning (Goal), and e-learning guru Elliott Masie, who both expressed support to the Philippine e-learning community in transforming the country into a key learning hub.
“We believe that as a learning hub, we will drive businesses here,” Donovan said. “We don’t see that education has any less of a role and we really believe that this has much greater potential.”
He noted that online learning has been part of the Philippines’ business processes outsourcing sector for the past decade, contributing a fraction of the Philippines’ $20-billion BPO industry.
Masie said Filipinos have a culture to be always connected with their loved ones.
This value, he added, can be used for coping with an increasingly fast-paced and highly competitive marketplace.
“Technology allows the flow of idea rapidly. This is the chance that you must imagine that education is not something that you do and then you stop [doing]for the rest of your life,” Masie said. “You can prepare the students for a job today, but in three to four years, you have to prepare them for the next version of that job.”
Through online learning, Masie hoped that the academe, government and private corporations will “understand the changes that we now have and embrace them and experiment with [them].”
“You have to be connected. I know that you are already connected in many ways but now is the opportunity to be connected to the world,” he said.
Some schools in the country have been enjoying the benefits of online learning.
For example, students of the Saint Paul University Surigao no longer struggle with heavy books in their suitcase because they can just bring their e-learning resources to access information.
“In our own little corner there in the province of Surigao, we’re trying to do with what is there and see how we could maximize it precisely because it is in the corner of Mindanao, then we all the more need to access.
“Everybody is talking about being globally competitive. Where is the globe in that little corner if we do not access the globe through the means now available, made available and accessible through technology?” said Sr. Marie Rosanne Mallillin, president of the university.
She noted that the students have been more engaged in class discussions because they are well equipped with knowledge available on the Internet. The children no longer just memorize the concepts, but they can also familiarize themselves with and navigate the available information.
All their graduates, Mallillin said, were immediately employed after they implemented the use of educational technology.
Masie sees e-leaning as the next growth possibility in the Philippines, especially with passage of Republic Act 10650 (Open Distance Learning Act) that allows the creation of electronic/computer technology and virtual classrooms.
“I believe that you’re already at the beginning but there’s still much work that needs to be done,” he said.
Donovan said, “One of the challenges is to accept that change is happening. This is a journey toward democratization of education. It will make the educational experience better for everyone.”
MICHAEL JOE T. DELIZO