Briones underscores importance of ICT in teaching, governance

PARAÑAQUE CITY, March 8, 2018 – Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones underscored the importance of integrating Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in both teaching and governance for the delivery of quality, accessible, relevant, and liberating basic education for Filipino learners.

The Education chief noted this during the recently concluded National DepEd ICT Summit held from February 27 to 28 at The Blue Leaf Filipinas in Parañaque City, which was attended by around 700 ICT practitioners, leaders, policy-makers, achievers in ICT education, and other stakeholders nationwide.

Briones shared that through ICT, teachers may devise various teaching methods that will instill creativity and critical thinking in learners. She further conveyed her hopes for the time to come that schoolchildren will no longer be burdened to carry books in their backpacks because of ICT innovations.

Ngayon napakarami nang technologies, napakarami nang gadgets, which make us do so many things and achieve so many goals and projects all at the same time… Kayang-kaya na nating mag-multi-task,” Briones stated.

Moreover, she highlighted how ICT can help fast-track the processes in the Department, “DepEd is a mammoth institution and with thousands of teaching and non-teaching personnel, technology may serve as an essential tool not just in teaching, but also in governance.”

“We’re going to overhaul the information system of the entire Department—the financial management system, accounting system, budget system, and all other processes,” Briones added.

Capacity building
To achieve these aspirations, the Secretary mentioned that teachers and non-teaching personnel handling concerns in ICT must undergo trainings, especially those who finished their education when technology was not as advanced as it is today.

Malaking bagay ‘yung capacity building ng teachers and personnel. Kasi isipin ninyo, ‘yung Secretary, hindi masyadong marunong sa ICT eh… So even I, myself, have to upgrade my skills and knowledge in ICT,” Briones said.

Best projects
In the same Summit, the Department, through its ICT Service (ICTS), recognized and awarded innovations in utilizing ICT to effectively deliver teaching and learning, as well as provide efficient governance and operations, directly to learners, teachers, and other education stakeholders.

“We will also recognize best projects to reward those who innovate… Because after all, education is not just about memorizing facts, it’s also about being creative, about finding solutions to problems, and it’s about dealing, accepting, living and adjusting with change,” the Secretary pointed out.

The winners for the Best ICT Innovations for Teaching and Learning are Regions VII, XII (CARAGA), and IV-A (CALABARZON), while the winners for the Best ICT Innovations for Governance are Regions III, X, and VI.

Ways forward
Furthermore, Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua and ICTS Director Abram Abanil led the forum with all the Summit participants to gather insights and comments which will be used in the advancement of various ICT projects and programs.

“I don’t think we can survive without ICT. We will surely go back to the dark ages if we ignore ICT… We have to remember that ICT is primarily a tool which helps us in making decisions, in understanding the world that we live in, and in finding solutions,” Briones said.

“At the end of the day, it is still us—the users of technology—who are responsible for making things happen,” she concluded.


Filipino prodigies win big in three international Math competitions

PASIG CITY, August 3, 2017 – A special education (SPED) learner from Tuguegarao West Central School in Cagayan Valley once more placed the Philippines in the map of mathematical excellence as he brought home three golds and one silver from the China Primary Math Olympiad held last July 26-27 in Zhejiang, China.

Miguel Isidro Cayetano is no rookie in bagging medals for the country in international Math contests. The Grade 5 fast-learner/gifted and talented (FL/GT) student secured gold in the International Mathematics Competition in 2016 and silver in the Singapore International Mathematics Olympiad Challenge (SIMOC) in 2015.

Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones expressed immense pride in Cayetano’s triumph, “One of my dreams for the Filipino youth is that one day, they are able to conquer the world as the next Stephen Hawking, as the next brilliant mind whose critical thinking enables them to navigate the exciting world of knowledge and apply their learning in contributing to nation building. Miguel is truly one of the young achievers heeding that call, and we hope that the country will be able to produce more of them.”

Cayetano, who consistently tops the class since he was in Grade 1, was one of the awardees during the 42nd Founding Anniversary of DepEd Region 2. According to his Math teacher, the young Math wizard remains a humble and diligent student despite being a constant pride of his parents and fellow Cagayanos.

Likewise, 79 young Filipino achievers in Math displayed exceptional wit during the recent SIMOC held at the prestigious National University of Singapore (NUS) from July 14-17, and the World Math Invitational (WMI) held in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam from July 14-18.

In this year’s SIMOC, 39 Grades 2 to 10 learners from the Philippines battled it out against 1,200 students from 20 Asian countries. Three learners went home as grand champions in their respective levels, while 12 reaped gold, 10 bagged silver, 11 earned bronze, and six received merit awards in the written individual contest. The Philippine delegation as well secured one gold, two silver and two bronze in the Math warriors team contest, and one bronze in the mind sports challenge.

According to Rechilda Villame, president of the Asian MathSci League, Inc. (AMSLI) that made the Philippine Team’s participation in Singapore possible, SIMOC is considered an esteemed competition because of Singapore’s reputation for mathematical excellence, and the young Filipinos’ outstanding showcase of intellect in the country is a telling achievement.

Another Philippine delegation made waves in WMI, wherein over a thousand students from Bulgaria, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and Vietnam vied for top awards. WMI is the first international competition founded by Taiwan, and has been held in Korea, Taiwan, China, and Malaysia. The team comprised of students from different schools brought home three trophies for overall champions, nine gold, 19 silver, nine bronze, and three merit awards.


DepEd receives educational assistance for conflict- and calamity-stricken learners from USAID

PASIG CITY, August 4, 2017 – To achieve the mutual development goals of ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) handed over 370 computer tablets, sample student chairs, and the scale model and design of a typhoon-resistant school building to the Department of Education (DepEd) on August 2 at the Bulwagan ng Karunungan, DepEd Central Office.

The full set of 6,500 chairs will be given to displaced students from Marawi to replace those that were destroyed as a result of the ongoing armed conflict. In addition, the school building design, developed by USAID for its post-Yolanda assistance, may be adopted by DepEd in other disaster affected communities.

As part of the ICT for Reading initiative under Basa Pilipinas, 370 tablet computers will be turned over to the City Division of San Fernando, La Union, which will benefit 26 schools, 60 Grade 3 teachers, and approximately 1,700 pupils.

Present during the handover ceremony were DepEd Undersecretaries Alain Pascua and Annalyn Sevilla, Assistant Secretaries Revsee Escobedo and G.H. Ambat, USAID Philippines Office of Education Director Brian Levey, and Basa Pilipinas Project Chief of Party Marcial Salvatierra.

Escobedo highlighted the event as a clear testament of and manifestation to the long history of cooperation, partnership and collaboration between DepEd and USAID.

In her presentation on the new ICT for reading pilot initiative, Basa Pilipinas Deputy Chief of Party Ces Ochoa said the tablets will be loaded with PDF copies of all Basa Pilipinas-developed Grade 3 leveled readers in English and Filipino, plus an interactive reading application (Vernacular) that will test and study the use of tablets to support students’ literacy and learning.

On behalf of the US Embassy Manila’s USAID, Levey emphasized the continuous commitment of USAID to helping the Department provide quality basic education, “The US government shares [DepEd’s] determination and enthusiasm to continuously improve the quality of education for students throughout the Philippines.”

Pascua explained that the result of the pilot program on the use of ICT in reading will be utilized in formulating the Department’s programs, especially the use of ICT materials in the teaching and learning process.

Pascua added that he is discussing with DepEd-Education Facilities Division (EFD) the introduction of new school building designs for 2018. One of the designs is the scale model developed by USAID, where classrooms are elevated and will be built in flood-prone areas.