Fellow blogger and tech guru Rom Feria was quick to smell something fishy in the proposed bill in Congress mandating IT as a distinct course in public and private elementary and high schools. He believes that IT need not be a separate subject for non-science high schools. What should be done, he asserts, is that it should be integrated in all subjects.
The most noteworthy in Rom’s blog entry is the suspicious question: Who are the consultants to the proposed bill? With ICT already politicized nowadays, that question is very important.
My take on the matter is that IT, in reality, is already being taught in private elementary schools and it is good. My eldest son (in Grade II) has already learned a lot from it from concepts to hands-on. At his age, he was taught to distinguish between a computer and a human being in terms of processing data. He also knows how to use a computer keyboard in touch-typing mode. These are among the things that his parents have no time to teach him. The only problem is that the textbook being used begs for updating. New technologies are not mentioned in there such as the flash drive and the Internet. Worse, he was made to know that it is only the Microsoft Windows applications that exist in the computing world.
I think that there’s nothing wrong with making IT as a separate subject but only for elementary schools. There should not be a separate IT subject for high schools, but instead integration of IT in each of the subjects of math, science, English, etc. Teach the basic IT concepts and values to elementary students and help them apply these concepts like touch-typing and surfing the Internet the right way. Teach high school students how to use software applications in some of their tasks, like research, doing campus paper issues, and preparing an audio-visual presentation.
It would be more appropriate to call it ICT rather than IT. And I am for having ICT as a separate subject only when:
- Open source concepts and technologies are included, if not given more importance;
- Related textbooks are up-to-date and not single-software biased; and,
- There are no proprietary-software-oriented persons or commercial outfits made to benefit. There are enough open source groups and individuals (with their academic background and experiences) who can be tapped to help the DepEd and CHED develop the modules. They sure must be paid but that does not mean paying also for software applications to be used and maintained, however big the discounts are.
Likewise, I’m curious about the Congressperson filing the related House Bill. Rep. Marcy Teodoro used to be the Marikina Settlements Office chief. I wonder what made him try to sound like IT is his thing. Perhaps, he is inspired by the direction that Marikina City is taking as far as e-governance is concerned. But can he not focus on stuff pertaining to housing, taking off from his experience? If IT is his new love, then he must find a colleague or two not only with the same passion as his but also with the credentials to sponsor or co-sponsor the bill. For the legislators and public must listen only to those who know what they are talking about.