of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Statement on the Cyber Education Project
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers
(ACT) - Metro Baguio strongly calls for the total scrapping of the
Cyber Education Project (CEP) of the Department of Education (DepEd),
a loan project attached to the highly controversial National Broadband
As we have projected, the Malacanang suspension
of the two projects in response to allegations of irregularity and
high-level corruption surrounding these contracts is not final.
In the case of the CEP, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary
Favila has clearly said last October 3 that the project is not being
The CEP supposedly aims to set up television production
and satellite broadcasting facilities in the Deped's central office
and satellite-based facilities in 26,618 schools throughout the
country. Each school will be provided with one multimedia classroom
with four TVs, two PCs, and one printer. Fifteen to twenty minute-long
classes taught by "excellent master teachers" in all subjects
for all year levels will be broadcast live via satellite to all
the schools on the system's twelve television channels. The project
will be rolled out over a three-year period and funded by a loan
from China worth US$ 465.5 million or Php 26.48 billion. This loan
amounts to 86 percent of the project, or Php22.77 billion. The remaining
Php3.71 billion, or 14 percent, will be financed by the Philippine
government. We hear that PLDT's Mabuhay Satellite Corporation has
been aggressively lobbying Deped officials to take on the project.
Outright, we say the project is deceptive because
even while its name suggests "computer-based learning via the
internet", it is nothing more than television-based instruction
delivered via satellite. Amidst serious doubts about its cost-effectiveness,
we say it is an expensive white elephant that will burden our people
for the next years to come.
More importantly, ACT - MB reiterates the national
alliance opposition to the CEP with the following reasons:
1. It fails to address the roots of the problems in basic education.
The increasing poverty and continuing underspending for education
has resulted in huge shortages in teachers, classrooms, textbooks
and other resources, eroded the economic and professional status
of teachers, and deprived them of high-quality training. These problems
in education are not addressed by the CEP.
2. Expensive technology is used inappropriately.
The CEP's TV-based instruction technology delivered via satellite
is touted as a "one-size fits all" solution to be imposed
on all schools regardless of the actual needs and conditions of
each throughout the archipelago. This does not bolster the delivery
of quality. Moreover, the same educational content can be delivered
through much cheaper "playback technology" (i.e., DVD
players and VCDs/DVDs) rather than through live satellite broadcasts.
3. It's a gross misallocation of limited funds.
A mind-boggling amount of money-Php 26.48 billion will be spent
on a single project, the effectiveness of which has not yet even
been proven. No studies have even been made at all regarding the
effectiveness of TV-based instruction in basic education. On the
other hand, investment in more teachers and classrooms to reduce
class sizes, high-quality teacher training programs, and upgrading
the economic status of teachers are proven and time-tested ways
of improving education quality. This is where the money should be
4. It lacks transparency. The legality of the contract
on the project must be questioned. The Cyber Education Project was
reportedly signed by Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila in
behalf of the Department of Education and Dr. Kang Ke Jung of Tsinghua
Tongfang Nuctech Co. as part of the ICT Cooperation between China
and the Philippines in Boao, China on April 21, 2007 and witnessed
by Pres. Gloria Arroyo. This included the signing of the controversial
National Broadband Network contract, which is worth US$ 330 million.
The Deped has not provided the public with details regarding the
contract. It should therefore be subjected to the same kind of scrutiny
by the public and by the relevant agencies of government.
As the Senate hearings complicate to unravel the
truth behind the NBN, we call on all sectors concerned in education-
the teachers, the students and the parents, to unite with the rest
of the Filipino people and be vigilant on this big issue rocking
our country today.
Let us reiterate our call for the total scrapping
of both the National Broadband Network and the Cyber Education Project
and let us make those accountable for these questionable projects
pay the price.
Beyond this, we call greater attention to the fact
that this is not the first time Malacanang is being dragged in big-scale
corruption issues. The Pidal issue, the Macapagal Super Highway
question and the fertilizer scam have not yet been clarified to
us by the GMA administration.
We have not allowed the Estrada Regime to go unpunished
with his plunder of the Filipino people's money. Let us remind the
GMA administration and all administrations that will follow that
they will suffer the same fate if they do the same.#
ACT-Metro Baguio Coordinator
7 October, 2007