GLORIA TRYING TO REVIVE AN ANOMALOUS AND OVERPRICED CYBERED CONTRACT
by Napanice (no login)
ONCE CORRUPT, ALWAYS CORRUPT. THAT IS THE ONLY SENSIBLE CONCLUSION THAT CAN BE DRAWN FROM THIS SHAMELESS REPETITION OF PAST SCANDALS THAT LED TO THE DISCOVERY OF BRIBES AND KICKBACKS INVOLVING THE PRESIDENT'S HUSBAND AND THE COMMISSIONER OF THE COMELEC AND OTHER ACCOMPLICES.
BUT WHAT IS REALLY AT STAKE IS THE PROSPECT OF ADDITIONAL AND EVEN HIGHER EXPENDITURES OF THE TAXPAYERS' MONEY WHEN THIS TOUTED HIGH TECH EDUCATION SYSTEM STARTS FAILING BECAUSE OF CHRONIC POWER OUTAGES, LACK OF COMPETENT OPERATORS AND MAINTENANCE PROBLEMS CAUSED BY EXORBITANT CONTRACTS AND LACK OF QUALITY CONTROL AND OVERSIGHT.
President Arroyo reiterated yesterday that she would push for the implementation of the Cyber Education Project (CEP) despite criticisms hurled against the proposal.
In her keynote address at the National Congress on Education yesterday at the Manila Hotel, the President said the government has already installed Internet-linked computers in several public high schools nationwide.
We are now aiming for distance learning and cyber education, the President said.
Arroyo critics attacked the proposed P26.48-billion CEP because China is the source of its funding.
Concerns were raised that the CEP could be embroiled in another anomalous transaction similar to the controversial $329-million national broadband network project that was awarded to the Chinese firm ZTE Corp. The contract was canceled by the President last year after disclosures of alleged overpricing and bribery involved in the NBN project.
Along with the cancellation of the NBN deal, the President suspended implementation of the CEP pending a review by a China Projects Oversight Panel to ensure that everything would be aboveboard.
Mrs. Arroyo said the government intends to install at least one linked computer in every public high school in the rural areas.
She said that the Internet-linked public school facilities will be used as community centers outside of school hours.
Mrs. Arroyo said the project generated great support from information technology industry leaders including Microsoft and Hewlett Packard during the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.
The President noted that she was not the one who raised the issue during her roundtable discussions at the WEF with information technology governors, but by people from Hewlett Packard.
Under the proposed CEP, satellite technology would be used to link the countrys public schools to a nationwide network in order to achieve the goal of distance learning.
It was envisioned to connect a total of 37,794 schools or 90 percent of all public schools nationwide.
Once implemented, the connected schools would receive live feeds of lectures and presentations from master teachers as well as coursewares on demand and other valuable resource materials.
The technology is widely used in countries such as the United States, Canada, Mexico, Chile, El Salvador, Panama, Guatemala, Honduras, Thailand, India, Indonesia and China.
The project is part of government efforts to provide the highest quality education to public schools, particularly in rural areas where there are many low-income families.
One of the programs implemented by the government involves the provision of scholarships to private high schools for children of low-income families in areas where there are no public high schools.
We recognize the pivotal role of private schools in national life. That is why instead of building more public high schools, we are expanding high school scholarships through the voucher system and the Government Assistance to Teachers and Students in Private Education or GATSPE, the President said.
Posted on Feb 3, 2008, 5:40 AM from IP address 22.214.171.124