Distance learning bill to reduce school dropouts

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Thursday, June 12, 2014


SENATOR Cynthia Villar on Thursday said that the distance learning program will significantly bring down the number of students dropping out of school.

Villar explained that this is because the distance learning program provides for a more flexible system of education.

In co-sponsoring Senate Bill 2274, or the "Open Learning and Distance Education Act of 2014," Villar said a flexible system of schooling will benefit the poor.

Distance learning program will give poor and working students even better opportunities to continue and finish their studies, she said.

Villar lamented that the government encounters difficulty in providing quality and accessible education to all due to budgetary constraints and other relevant factors.

In the preceding years, there was a decline in the quality of education and the significant increase in the number of students not pursuing and/or finishing higher education.

A large number of Filipino families, with their meager resources, could not afford the everyday expenses involved in sending their children to college the traditional way, such as daily allowances for transportation, meals and other school-related incidental expenses, Villar said.

The Nacionalista Party senator also added that many young people necessarily had to leave school and shelve their dream of acquiring higher education for them to immediately work in low-paying jobs to help in the upkeep of their families.

"Open learning and distance education will decrease the number of dropouts and out-of-school youths. Moreover, it will also address the issue of unemployment, which is still a major problem in our country," she said.

Unlike traditional education in which one goes to school regularly to meet teachers and classmates, a student availing himself or herself of distance learning can attend classes while at home or in the workplace with the use of modules, e-mail, chat and video conference to name a few.

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 employed to monitor and ensure the academic progress of the students.

Villar explained that open learning and distance education in the country could make higher education accessible to a great number pursuant to the Constitutional mandate.

"As long as the necessary support for the efficient implementation of the system as enunciated in the bill are followed, open learning and distance education could well serve as effective engines to develop our people and nation," she said. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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