News and Features
Four Palawan Public High Schools Join Smart Schools Program
[March 21, 2007/ Manila] - Not one, but four Palawan public high schools are now connected to the World Wide Web through the Smart Schools Program.
Coron School of Fisheries, El Nido National High School, Palawan National School and Brooke’s Point National High School join the 100 public high schools nationwide covered by the flagship education program of Smart Communications, Inc. (SMART).
“Smart, together with the PLDT group of companies, is in a good position to provide schools broadband access to the Internet. The Smart Schools Program is our innovative contribution to promoting Internet-aided learning,” said Ramon R. Isberto, Smart public affairs group head.
"We are happy that via the Smart Schools Program, we are bringing Internet connectivity to the so-called ‘last frontier’ of the country and helping pave the way for ICT development in these schools,” said Darwin Flores, Smart public affairs senior manager for community partnerships.
Considered one of the last unspoiled Pacific islands left to explore, Palawan offers a variety of natural attractions, some of them in the areas where the Smart Schools Program partners are located.
Palawan National School is in Puerto Princesa, home to the world’s longest underground river. Some 8.2 kilomers long, the St. Paul Subterranean River winds through a spectacular cave before emptying into the South China Sea. El Nido is synonymous with the El Nido Marine Reserve, which boasts of diverse ecosystems, such as rainforests, mangroves, white sand beaches, coral reefs, and limestone reefs as well as a variety of fishes, like manta ray and the sea cow or "dugong”, known as the world's rarest marine mammal.
Kayangan Lake, declared the country’s cleanest lake, is in Coron, Island, where the Coron School of Fisheries is located. Brooke’s Point might not be first on the list of tourism destinations in Palawan, but it is being eyed as a gateway for Malaysian traders to other parts of Southern Palawan. The town has a port facility that can accommodate smaller type of ocean-going vessels and is about 137 nautical miles from Kudat, a town located on the coast of the northernmost part of Sabah.
In ceremonies attended by local officials led by Palawan Governor Joel T. Reyes, Smart officials formally welcomed its Palawan schools partners into the program with a turnover of Smart Teacher Learning Resource Centers.
“We’re happy at this opportunity to give our students and teachers access to the Internet for information and learning purposes, said Anson Paredes, El Nido National High School principal.
Dawin H. Omar, Brooke’s Point National High School principal, said that Internet connectivity is invaluable in schools that do not have libraries or lack reference materials. “Smart Schools allows our students and teachers to do research in a greater, wider and more complete virtual library,” he added.
“Students easily relate to Smart Schools because of the Internet access. Maganda ang dating ng program, “ said Benjamin H. Rodriguez, Palawan National School principal.
Internet-aided learning and connectivity as well as the prospect of acquiring know-how and skills via training programs are enough reason to sign up for Smart Schools, said Nestor V. Urate, Coron School of Fisheries principal. “More schools should enjoy the benefits of being a Smart Schools Program partner,” he added.
Through the Smart Schools Program, each of the four Palawan public high schools received an additional two computer units, networked along with the schools’ existing units to the Internet via Smart Bro, which is given free for one year. The schools also each received two webcams, a scanner and a printer.
The networking of computers was done by faculty of Fullbright College, a school partner of SMART in Palawan under sister project Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program (SWEEP). Strategically located in all regions of the country, the SWEEP schools have become a nationwide training network for Smart Schools, with members of the faculty trained to become mentors to the public high school teachers.
Smart Schools Program partners benefit from various ICT skills training for teachers and stakeholders. For the Palawan schools, initial training is on “PC Technology Troubleshooting and Lab Maintenance”, to be conducted by Fullbright faculty.
Schools under the program also have access to online content via the Smart Schools Program website (www.smartschools.ph). Aside from enabling teachers to exchange best practices with colleagues, Smart Schools also hosts the websites of its partner schools.
Launched in December 2004, the Smart Schools Program is the community service initiative of Smart that promotes Information and Communication Technology in basic education through partnerships with public high schools, its officials and parents-teachers-community-associations (PTCAs).
Specifically, it aims to provide public school teachers and students with broadband Internet connection, access to online content, and teacher trainings. It is implemented through the Philippine Business for Social Progress with the support of the Department of Education, Learn.ph Foundation, Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program (SWEEP) and Microsoft's Partners in Learning Program. @