Tech ‘crucial’ in delivering education services – Briones

Jee Y. Geronimo
Tech ‘crucial’ in delivering education services – Briones
'Without technology, we will not be able to move and integrate everything. We cannot move without technology,' says Education Secretary Leonor Briones

MANILA, Philippines – On his way out of the education department, former secretary Armin Luistro said the next revolution in education would be in technology.

Luistro’s successor, Education Secretary Leonor Briones, shares his forecast.

“Without technology, we will not be able to move and integrate everything. We cannot move without technology,”  Briones said in a recent Rappler Talk interview.

For the new education chief, technology plays an important role in a huge bureaucracy such as the Department of Education which, Briones said, has 44,000 schools, 600,000 school teachers, over 100,000 support staff, and at least 24 million students. (READ: Briones: PH must prove it deserves to spend more on education)

She admitted it’s difficult even for the most able-bodied person to monitor all these schools in the country for the next 6 years.

“That’s why it’s so boring for others because we are asked what’s my priority. I said, ‘To put a financial management system in place. To trace the peso which is released from national down to the school for the [Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses] to the school principal who has the account. To see to it that they know the bookkeeping, they have to provide personally’,” she explained.

After all, the department’s central office in Manila can’t keep waiting “for data which does not come in,” Briones lamented.

“I know that there are secretaries who have not been able to visit the regions, and that is where technology comes in. It’s crucial. It’s very important. Otherwise, we underspend. Otherwise, we are slow. Otherwise, we cannot deliver,” she added.

Briones said her department is already providing computers to different schools in the country, which is crucial since some schools are still not equipped with even one computer package. 

“I have visited a school in Visayas and Mindanao where…the children still look at Manila paper drawings of the computers, where the principal does not even have a computer, where she has to go down from the hills, down to the municipality so she can prepare her reports because she doesn’t have a personal computer. The school does not have a computer and this was only a few years ago,” she recounted.

“I know this is still prevalent in Visayas and Mindanao, for example. Not only computers, because their uses are limited. Other means of electronic communication – you cannot do without them at this time. Even if I’m not an expert, I’m not very good at it, I know they are important,” she said,

DepEd dat showed that under the 2016 budget, P6.82 billion has been allocated for 6,653 computer packages. 

But education officials from the previous administration said that with fundamental education inputs already accounted for, the Duterte administration now “has the luxury” to go beyond providing schools with basic information and communications technology (ICT) packages and look at how ICT will affect or improve teachers’ pedagogy. – Rappler.com

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Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.