Villar bats for passage of distance education bill

By Christina Mendez, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jun 13 2014 04:22 AM | Updated as of Jun 13 2014 12:22 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Cynthia Villar has pushed for the passage of the open learning and distance education bill, which seeks to provide a flexible system of education and reduce the number of school dropouts.

Villar co-sponsored Senate Bill 2274, or the “Open Learning and Distance Education Act of 2014” before Congress adjourned on Wednesday.

She said a flexible system of schooling would benefit poor and working students, and give them opportunities to finish their studies.

Villar said the government is having difficulty providing quality and accessible education to all due to lack of budget and other factors.

She lamented the decline in the quality of education and the increase in the number of school dropouts.

“That trend came about because a large number of Filipino families cannot afford to send their children to college the traditional way,” Villar said.

She said many students are forced to quit their studies in order to look for a job and help their families.

“Open learning and distance education will decrease the number of dropouts and out-of-school youths. It will also address unemployment,” she said.

Unlike traditional education where one goes to school regularly to meet with teachers and classmates, a student taking distance learning can attend classes while at home or in the workplace with the use of modules, email, chat and video conference.

Like the traditional learning experience, distance education follows a curriculum, but studying can be done at one’s pace.

To ensure efficiency and quality, mechanisms are placed to monitor and ensure the academic progress of the students.

Villar vouched for the need to provide support for the efficient implementation of the system.

“Open learning and distance education could well serve as effective engines to develop our people and nation,” she said.