Tuesday, August 2, 2005

GILAS: Gearing Up for Internet Access for Students

Peachy Limpin told me to check yesterday's issue of The Manila Bulletin because there is a press release about a project founded by Mr. Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala II. This project, another brainchild of the Ayala Foundation, is known as GILAS - Gearing up for Internet Access for Students. Here is an excerpt from the article written by Jerry Liao on GILAS:

GILAS aims to provide Internet access for students and basic Internet literacy programs in all 5,443 public secondary schools in the next 5 years. For schools with working computer laboratories, GILAS will provide Internet connectivity and Internet literacy to teachers. For schools that do not have working Internet laboratories, GILAS will provide at least 10 PC's, Internet connectivity and basic Internet training.

I am so intrigued with this project that I will follow it's journey for the next five years, just like the way I did with it's relative -Sa Aklat Sisikat. SAS has helped a lot of public elementary schools improve their reading programs and organize libraries and reading centers. In fact, our library in Xavier School helped in training two teacher-librarians on the basics of school library management two years ago. It is not enough to provide the funding, logistics and resources. Human resources training goes hand in hand with it.

I see the same pattern in GILAS and I wish them well. I could not help but smile at the thought of these two projects complementing each other. I do not know if the Zobels are aware (well, perhaps they are for after all they are one family) at the congruence of SAS with GILAS. If SAS promotes reading and helps in the literacy development of elementary school children, GILAS on the other hand climbs up the literacy development ladder several steps higher to facilitate Internet Literacy for secondary students.

There is a continuity in this scheme of things. The reading skills taught in the elementary grades are crucial skills to help them cope with complicated reading materials in secondary school. The Internet is one. There is way of reading and deriving understanding from internet sites. Students must learn how to use this electronic resource responsibly and intelligently. If this is the case, teachers of today must be the first to understand the intricate nature of the Internet. They are also in the position to identify ways on how it can enrich instruction.

Knowing about its technical aspect and surfing is one thing, but utilizing and mining information from the Internet for teaching and instruction is another.

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