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Executive Summary

The eSkwela Project is a flagship project of the Commission of Information and Communications Technology (CICT) together with the Department of Education-Bureau of Alternative Learning System (BALS) that provides ICT-enhanced educational opportunities for the countrys out-of-school youth and adults. Funded initially by the APEC Education Foundation (AEF), it currently gets its funding from the e-Government Fund provided by the National Government. Under this project, community-based e-Learning Centers are being established across the country where ICT-supported alternative education programs are taking place. With the use of relevant interactive elearning materials, blended and collaborative modes of instruction, and performance-based assessment in a problem/project-based learning environment, it seeks to bridge the widening digital divide and social chasms between those who are educated and those who are not. Through a multi-stakeholder approach, the communities are expected to participate intensively in the project by setting-up, managing, and financing the centers operations as well as providing support for community-based projects. CICT-HCDG partners with local governments, DepEd divisions, non-government and civic groups, and communities to extend the reach of eSkwela to other areas in the country. In line with the overall goal of providing Education for All (EFA) and the strategic direction set by eSkwelas pilot implementation, eSkwela 1.0s main aim was to capacitate DepEd-BALS as well as the field implementers and supporters of the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Program in utilizing appropriate and relevant ICT4E resources to broaden access to quality education and make learning fun, interactive, and more engaging. Further, the project targeted a 100% increase in the number of Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Test passers among the learners in its implementation areas. eSkwela 1.0, which ran from July 2007 to June 2011, sought to operationalize the eSkwela model for the eventual turnover to DepEd-BALS as a regular Program. This translates to a projected 220 ALS implementers and 5,000 learners systematically using ICTs in the teaching and learning process in 120 eSkwela sites by 2010.

Executive Summary

Key innovative features Being the very first ICT in Education intervention for the alternative learning system in the country, it had such a wide room for pioneering innovations and experimentation. Capitalizing on the flexible nature of the A&E Program, the eSkwela Project Team made sure that the intervention used a multi-faceted yet comprehensive approach, thus avoiding the pitfalls of previous ICT in Education projects. As such, it had the following major components: 1) The heart of the eSkwela Project is its customized Instructional Model that serves as a concrete application of ICT integration in the delivery of the A&E Program. In support of a blended and self-paced learning environment, learning facilitators design and use learner-centered ICT-supported module guides that engage the learners to actively participate in their own learning process. Based on agreed-upon individual learning agreements, learning facilitators assign learners a wide range of ICT-based supplementary materials and activities to work on. Likewise, learners are encouraged to collaboratively use the various ICT tools extensively to create, upload, and maintain their respective learner e-portfolios and possibly build learning resources for others. a. The content development efforts of eSkwela is considered as the biggest content development initiative in the country with 283 A&E modules, 4 voctech courses, and 7 computer literacy modules being developed for free public distribution. This particular sub-component involves 212 developers and reviewers from partner universities, DepEd-BALS, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). The automated systems being developed include the eSkwela Learning Management System and monitoring and evaluation systems that are needed to efficiently implement the instructional model as well as track site establishment, operations, and sustainability.

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Community mobilization and social marketing activities are conducted to promote the project to local communities. It aims to secure the support of local stakeholders and interest groups for the infrastructure and personnel requirements of an eSkwela Center as well as the financial, technical, and institutional sustainability of the Center.

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Executive Summary

A local steering committee composed of stakeholder representatives is then formed to oversee the operations and ensure sustainability, formalized through a Memorandum of Agreement. 3) A variety of stakeholders capability-building workshops are conducted to prepare the implementers in managing the eSkwela Center and the proper implementation of the Instructional Model. Customized training workshops are designed and run for the regional coordinators, national trainers, center managers, learning facilitators, and network administrators. Additional trainings are provided to handhold learning facilitators and learners through the next stages in using ICT in a project-based learning environment. Regular monitoring and evaluation (M&E) activities are conducted to assess the implementation and progress of individual eSkwela Centers in terms of site operations, application of skills trained on, and the initial gains of eSkwela to the learning community. Such activities have allowed the project team to mentor and handhold the newer implementers and if needed, conduct on-site refresher courses. An inclusive /consultative and collaborative atmosphere among the numerous stakeholders has been established from the very beginning. Communication lines are kept open through the project website (http://alseskwela.ning.com/) between the project team and the site implementers to encourage participation in this community of practice. Sharing of performance, challenges, progress, lessons learned, good practices, and initial gains are then gathered and used for continuous project enhancements. This positive perception to M&E activities on the various aspects affords the team the opportunities to get and incorporate feedback from the implementers and learners. All enhancements, interventions, and model stabilizations done on the project since its initial project conceptualization have been based on the results of these M&E activities and action plans developed during such gatherings.

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Executive Summary

By the end of the project life of eSkwela 1.0 (30 June 2011), it had the following outputs and accomplishments: AEF eSkwela 1.0 - eGov Fund 2006, 2007, 2009 pilot target accomplished rate Functional customized ICT4E (ALS) Instructional model Enhanced Framework 1 1 1 0% eModules & corresponding 191 * Module Guides (A&E) (113 of which have 35 248 23% developedv (to be used for been certified by free) BALS) eModules (others: livelihood & CILC) 0 61 11* 82% developed (to be used for free) Mature/Replicable center model eSkwela Franchise Manual 0 1 1 100% Roadshows conducted for 0 17 27 0% advocacy Operational sites (mostly community 4 102 91 + 10** 10% initiated) Trained/qualified implementers on prescribed instructional model and center operations Enhanced / New Training 2 7 7 0% Designs Trained field implementers 140+ 1,884 1,718 *** 9% Established management and M&E mechanisms and tools Mechanisms 1 4 4 0% Enhanced / Customized / 1 2 2 0% New Automated Systems
* includes modules that are certified, undergoing certification, and good for certification; delays in content development processes discussed in Chapter 4 ** 10 sites are about to operate, pending minor operation details (slow set-up process dependent on pace by community stakeholders) *** slots were not filled up because some sites share implementers thus forfeited their provided workshop slots; some had conflicts in schedules and travel concerns; had difficulties in getting technical people to be trained

Most of the targets set in 2007 were met, with a few slippages. As with any project, targets and corresponding activities /tasks went through regular discussions, review, and revisions, when deemed appropriate. The project is finishing up the 283 targeted e-learning modules certified by BALS, the seven (7) Computer and Internet Literacy e-modules, and the four (4) e-courses for the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) that covers Horticulture, HVAC-Refrigeration, Automotive Servicing, and Bartending. From a pilot run of four (4) sites in 2006-2007, a total of 95 CICT-assisted eSkwela Centers are operational by the end of June 2011, with 10 more set to start operations in the coming months. Most of the centers are community-led shared facilities, meaning the communities were the ones that sourced the infrastructure, the connectivity, the personnel, and sustainability costs CICT just came in for the social mobilization, training, systems and

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Executive Summary

content, and monitoring activities. There are centers on top of public markets, inside container vans, in existing community e-centers (or publicly owned internet cafes), and even two local implementations that transport mobile laboratory set-ups from village to village on board motorbikes. All these were made possible through the gracious assistance of local partners who have demonstrated the true meaning of synergy. Through the Regional Coordinators, Trainers, field implementers, and eSkwelas online presence, continuous advocacy is being done for the further expansion of eSkwela sites nationwide towards contributing to the countrys efforts in providing Education for All (EFA) by 2015.Several models are being promoted: ALS Office-based, school-based, barangay-based, city hall-based, mobile (laptop, container van), internet caf-based, etc., depending on the respective commitments and resources of the host communities that are responsible for the infrastructure, connectivity, and sustainability concerns of the centers.

Fund Utilization for eSkwela 1.0 Of the total allocation provided for eSkwela 1.0, a total of Php 86,686,212 (97.83%) was obligated as of 30 June 2011 of which Php 86,686,212 (97.83%) was obligated. The total obligation comprised 1.13% capital outlay (CO) and 98.87% maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE), broken down as follows: Component Capital Outlay Capability Building Systems Development Content Development Project Management (inc. M&E) TOTALS eGF 2006 8,348,096 21,000,440 581,167 29,929,703 eGF 2007 976,859 3,664,403 2,477,130 15,896,872 5,640,651 28,655,915 eGF 2009 8,789,662 2,652,000 8,084,874 8,574,057 28,100,594 eGF totals 976,859 20,802,162 5,129,130 44,982,186 14,795,875 86,686,212 % 1.13% 24.00% 5.92% 51.89% 17.07% 100.00%

Executive Summary

Initial Assessment eSkwela, as an educational model that comprehensively incorporates ICT in the learning process, has proven to be one of the most successful initiatives in integrating ICT in education. It sets an example for elearning in the Philippines that give hopes and opportunities to educationally underserved Filipinos. The projects implementation of the four (4) pilot sites provided the proof of concept that the use of ICTs in education is highly suitable to the modular approach of ALS and its emphasis on life skills. Starting small, the project team scaled up the project with caution by adhering to the key success factors observed in the pilot implementation. From site observation and reports/testimonials, the eSkwela project has enhanced the learning environment and made learning more engaging. This is mainly due to the innovative use of ICT (content, systems, discussion forums, projects) to make learning more fun, interactive, audio-visually stimulating, interesting, localized, and self-paced. In addition, the use of the project-based approach guides the learners to apply what they learned to actual scenarios and situations as such, more aligned to the life skills that BALS aims for. Moreover, the eSkwela learners have much higher passing rates in the standardized A&E Test than those using the print-based model, providing a better-looking return on the communitys investment over the traditional A&E delivery mode. A&E Test Performance Feb 2008 (4 sites) Oct 2008 (5 sites) Oct 2009 (partial: 9 sites) October 2010 (partial: 16 sites) Averages eSkwela Average 57% 65% 45% 63% 58% National Average 29% 23% 21% 33% 27%

The innovative approach to using ICT for the A&E Program not only trains learners about computer literacy but more importantly, uses ICT to learn academics, values, livelihood and practical living. Likewise, it has served as a catalyst for community-led action among public and private partners. It has been a common perception that with eSkwela comes more A&E Test passers meaning, more constituents have the necessary high school diplomas to become employable, productive, and tax-paying citizens in their communities in effect, benefiting the local government, industry, and the community-at-large. Having served an estimated 6,309 diverse learners since 2007, the eSkwela Centers around the country are living testimonials to the potentials of ICTs in education. The effects are felt where it matters most: in the marginalized poor, with housewives, with the disabled sectors that have traditionally gotten the short shrift in the one-size-fits-all arena of formal education. The project had been cited by UNESCO through a Certificate of Commendation from the ICT in Education Innovation Awards 2007-2008. It was recently conferred an Honorable Mention by the 2010 UNESCO King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa Prize for the Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Education and a Laureate by the 2011 Computerworld Honors Program.

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Executive Summary

Next Steps eSkwela was officially turned over to the Department of Education last 29 April 2011 for institutionalization as a regular delivery mode of the ALS Accreditation and Equivalency Program. The management of DepEd had repeatedly emphasized that it will sustain eSkwela as part of the regular delivery services of the A&E Program. With policy support and regular funding from DepEd, eSkwela will have more muscle and teeth in facing the various expansion and operation challenges. The immediate next phase is eSkwela 1.1 which is an offshoot of the two (2) implementation phases of the eSkwela Project. Proposed by the CICT eSkwela Project Team and backed up by a 42 Million budget from eGF 2010, eSkwela 1.1 intends to bring the enhanced ICT-supported alternative learning system of eSkwela to more communities in the country by delivering the service through the 114 ALS school-based BPOSA (Balik Paaralan para sa Out-of-School Adults) Centers and the 211 ALS Community Learning Centers under the DepEd-Bureau of Alternative Learning System. The project will provide capability building programs and handholding mechanisms to 2,300 field implementers to source community support and implement the eSkwela instructional model, thereby opening up ICT-supported opportunities to more out-of-school youth and adults to complete their basic education requirements, learn new skills (i.e. digital competence, life skills, voc-tech skills), and engage in community activities.

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Executive Summary

eSkwela 1.1 seeks to achieve the following objectives: to capacitate and guide/handhold more ALS implementers in bringing eSkwelas ICT in education innovations (project-based learning strategies and localized modules /content) to their local communities as well as in obtaining strong community support for center sustainability; to expand the reach of eSkwela to more ALS learners, approximately 8,200 additional ALS learners per school year; to replicate the good performance in the Accreditation and Equivalency Test among current eSkwela Centers in the new Centers (passing rate among eSkwela Centers are two to three times better than the national average); to bring eSkwelas ICT in education innovations (project-based learning strategies and localized modules /content) to the high school teachers and students in the recipient BPOSA eSkwela 1.1 beneficiaries towards potentially improving learning outcomes; to establish and maintain strong communities of learning and practice (sharing of experiences and potential mentoring) among eSkwela Centers in the provinces or regions and even within the island groups; and, through a third-party assessment study, to assess the qualitative (e.g. behavioural, social/ relational) and quantitative (e.g. cognitive project outputs, A&E Test) effects of using e-learning vs. print modules in the delivery of the Accreditation and Equivalency Program.

The eGovernment Fund Technical Working Group highly recommended that DepEd take the lead for eSkwela 1.1.

Conclusion As with any project, the eSkwela Project has a beginning and an end an inception and a closure. Looking back at the past five (5) years of the project life, inclusive of the projects pilot implementation and eSkwela 1.0, the bumpy and winding road had made the journey all the more exciting and scenic with the end-point more satisfying to reach. The biggest achievement of eSkwela is that a systematic and widely accepted model of ICT in Education has been made available for the country through the efforts of a big number of like-minded groups and individuals. The success of the project lies in the fact that so many stakeholders had come together to make eSkwela to what it has become for without them, eSkwela would just be one of those projects that remained a pilot. eSkwela has a long way to go, it continues to be a work in progressif it stops being one and stagnates, then it would have lost its beauty and energy. It is hoped that eSkwela continues to serve as a model to the various ICT in Education initiatives in the country and contribute to the targets set by the Philippine Digital Strategy (PDS) 2011-20161, specifically in the area of Investing in People and Digital Literacy for All.

Online version available via URL: http://www.scribd.com/doc/58949299/Philippine-Digital-Strategy-2011-2016 Accessed: June 2011. Alternative site - Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/PhilippineDigitalStrategy?sk=app_190322544333196 Accessed: June 2011.

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