I.T. AND SCHOOLS

Manila, June 16, 2003 by Dickson Co (DFNN.COM) (STAR) Depending on the school, your kids must have started the new schoolyear this week or will do so this coming Monday. The excitement and anxiety of opening day is colossal. The stress — both negative and positive on the students, parents and teachers — is massive, not to mention the traffic stress it creates on my favorite administrator, Engineer Bayani Fernando.

I remember my days in grade school many moons ago. I was so excited the night before that I put on my uniform under my pajamas. (My white shirt was polycotton so wrinkling was not an issue). I was ready to go in less than five minutes after waking up. Of course, over time, I learned to adjust my level of expectation and excitement about school and about life. Now back to the story.

Curriculum
. IT is now part of the basics. In my days, it was the 3 Rs of reading, ’riting and ’rithmetic. Today, our kids have to be fluent in the basics of using the Internet for research as well as the basic productivity tools of word processing, spreadsheets and presentation software (that was a mouthful; I could have easily said Microsoft’s Office suite). If your school does not have an articulated plan to build its IT curriculum, I suggest you start getting involved.

On top of IT in school, we need to augment that with using the computer at home. I am lucky to have a computer at home and my kids and I use it for Internet access and to play strategy games like Simm City and Age of Empires. (No first person shooters like Delta Force or CounterStrike though.)

However, for other parents, I suggest you bring your kids to Internet cafés to at least get them familiar with what is out there. Debates run wild about the dangers of what is out there in the Internet for kids. I believe the benefits of exposing them to the power of the Internet far outweigh the dangers. We just need to mitigate the risks.

Running the school.
The school administrator has a big job. Usually known as the principal, he or she, with a very, very limited budget, has to make sure there are enough teachers, classrooms and textbooks to serve the school’s most important client – the kids.

Horror stories abound of some principals in the public school system who are taking advantage of our already lowly paid public school teachers, but that is hearsay and a different story.

For colleges with more than 1,000 students, they usually need a basic database to run their enrollment and clearance processes, keep their student records and grades and of course, bill the parents. Systems can run from the most rudimentary database using MS Access to some imported education software, with costs running from a few hundred dollars to a few hundred thousands.

Other functionalities needed would be scheduling of classes and of course, the basic accounting package.

Some schools forget that once students graduate, they as alumni are perfect sources of future donations. Again, you need a good database to keep this valuable information together.
[For comments or suggestions, e-mail twocents88@yahoo.com.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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