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Certificate of Commendation for the Non-formal Educator Category

The eSkwela Project
Commission on Information and Communication Technology, Quezon City, Philippines

The eSkwela Project, a word play on the Filipino equivalent of ‘school', is a flagship project of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), through its Human Capital Development Group (HCDG). It is envisioned to empower out-of-school youth and adults to be globally competitive through the effective use of ICT in alternative learning. With eSkwela's ICT-enabled environment, Filipino out-of-school youths and adults can attain basic education competence and life skills.

Under this project, community-based e-learning centres, or eSkwela Centres, established across the country to conduct ICT-enhanced alternative education programmes for out-of-school youth and adults, serve as venues where the learners and other community members can gain new skills and competencies, review for the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Exam of the Department of Education-Bureau of Alternative Learning System, and/or help prepare out-of-school youths to rejoin the formal school system.

Apart from being ICT-enabled, the eSkwela Project utilizes an inquiry-based, interdisciplinary, and thematic approach to learning and teaching. At the heart of the eSkwela Project is its instructional design, a blended type of learner-focused instruction where students will have one hour of computer-aided learning via interactive e-learning modules, one hour of teacher-led instruction (based on the current needs of the learners), and one hour of collaborative group activities and projects.

The CICT-HCDG was able to secure a grant from the APEC Education Foundation for the establishment of eSkwela Centers in four pilot sites, one in the National Capital Region and one each in the three major Philippine island groups: Quezon City (NCR), City of San Jose del Monte (Luzon), Cebu City (Visayas), and Cagayan de Oro City (Mindanao). Furthermore, funding from the Philippine government will finance the further development of e-learning and livelihood modules, regional road shows for the mobilization of the local communities as eSkwela partners and stakeholders, and training for the educators and implementers of the upcoming eSkwela Centres nationwide.

The four eSkwela pilot sites have been provided with computer hardware (21-unit networked computers, multimedia peripherals), software (interactive e-learning modules, a customized Learning Management System), internet connectivity for one year, and educators' training. The eSkwela Project Management Office has also spearheaded monitoring and evaluation activities to ensure continuous enhancement of operations and content towards building a stable model from which future eSkwela Centres can use as a blueprint.

The key components of the eSkwela Project are its material review and content development, which look into translating the current print modules of the Alternative Learning System (ALS) A&E programme into e-learning format. To date, 35 ALS print modules have been converted into electronic format, making optimum use of ICT elements (multimedia, interactivity) to make the learning sessions more effective and engaging for out-of-school youths and adult learners.