Students from Hamtic Central School in Antique wave their Knowledge Channel flags during the ceremonial turnover at their schoolFifteen years ago, two young, idealistic executives envisioned a world where children could be given access to education, wherever they may be, amidst whatever circumstance they
are in. It was a vision rooted in a deep desire to help Filipinos in empowering themselves and uplifting their families from poverty—through education.
As both Rina Lopez Bautista and Carlo Katigbak were then with SKYcable, they realized that they had the tools to reach more and teach more learners using educational media.
Indeed, what better way to provide access to a growing population of 20 million students from around 40,000 public schools in an archipelago of 7,107 islands than to use the most influential and most widely used medium of all—television. It was also a solution that could help the Department of Education (DepEd) deliver quality basic education to learners—not just the ones in schools but also out-of-school youth and even adult learners.
KCH STAFF CONDUCTS SESSION WITH STUDENTS Driven by the common dream of helping Filipino children receive a fighting chance in life, they embarked on a journey that would bring together different stakeholders in education to work towards the noble goal of giving the gift of knowledge to schools.
With the support of then Lopez Group chairman Oscar M. Lopez and ABS-CBN chairman Eugenio Lopez III, they established Sky Foundation, which later became Knowledge Channel Foundation Inc. (KCFI). With the mission of delivering educational media to schools through cable television, Knowledge Channel (KCh) made its first broadcast on November 6, 1999.
While Katigbak stayed on the business side of cable, Bautista put together a dedicated team that shared their vision. The team solicited support from donors. They traveled across the country to provide schools with cable connection and satellites so teachers can teach using shows on KCh. They went as far north as Itbayat, Batanes, to as far south as Tawi-Tawi, at times risking their lives as they would be caught in the crossfire in conflict-stricken areas.STUDENTS DOING GROUP ACTIVITY IN LEEP WORKSHOP
But to the KCh team, nothing could be more fulfilling than to see the faces of children as they marveled at the new learning from watching KCh. The gift of knowledge meant more than just connecting schools. It brought a new spark of life to impoverished children and communities. A satellite they installed on a school building’s rooftop even became a symbol of hope to a barrio infested with rebels, which later became a zone of peace because of the fearless efforts of a principal who used education as a weapon against violence.
Support for the cause
The initial success of KCh paved the way for more wellmeaning individuals and companies to support the cause and connect even more schools. To date, KCh is being used by more than 3,000 schools and has been proven to be an effective tool in improving student performance, reducing dropouts and enjoining parents and community leaders to be more involved in school affairs.
It, too, has evolved its offering and is now accessible through its website, KCh Online, and through portable media libraries that can easily be connected to laptops, desktop computers and LCD TVs. With this, KCh’s educational media content has also evolved from videos to a wider and more dynamic set of multimedia learning materials.
TEACHERS DOING GROUP WORK IN LEEP WORKSHOPWith more than 1,100 shows being aired daily, KCh remains the only curriculumbased television channel that has steadfastly worked with the DepEd in its task of providing free quality education for all. In 2007, the channel became the DepEd’s model for what could have become the country’s largest public educational media network that would deliver lessons to all schools via television and the Internet, a testament to the brilliant strategy that was conceived eight years earlier— truly an idea ahead of its time.
Entering its 15th year, KCh is forging ahead by bringing what could only be thought of as the future of learning to Filipino learners today.
Having seen the real state of public schools across the country in hundreds of visits— especially the difficulty of teachers in teaching and students in learning—the team has resolved that what matters most in education is the process that happens between the teacher and the student, and how they use the materials and space around them to achieve true learning.
KCh staff gives training to teachers in Batanes TrainingAligned with the DepEd’s new K+12 curriculum, KCh launched a landmark initiative that would help teachers not only improve their teaching approaches but, more importantly, make them effective facilitators of learning.
Creative ways to engage students
Dubbed as LEEP, or Learning Effectively through Enhanced Pedagogies, the program consists of a threeday training workshop given to selected public school teachers and principals who would echo and implement what they learn to their schools. There, they are trained in new and creative ways to engage students and make learning effective with the use of KCh materials. A portable media library with hundreds of videos and games and other learning materials is also gifted to each school. A unique feature of the program is the use of electives from KCh advocacies like peace, disaster preparedness, financial literacy and others as themes of LEEP sessions.
Since 2013, KCh has trained more than 3,000 teachers from over 800 schools nationwide. LEEP was developed by the KCh team and headed by former Education Sec. Fe Hidalgo who joined KCh after her 50-year stint as a teacher and DepEd official.
PRE-SCHOOL STUDENTS WATCH KCHThe combination of effective teaching and learning approaches with the use of KCh’s multimedia learning materials provides a powerfully rich and positive learning experience for any learner. It radically does away with old and traditional approaches and puts the learner at the center of the classroom or the learning process and uplifts the role of the teacher from a mere source of knowledge to a facilitator of learning—one that not only transmits knowledge but also transforms it.
More passionate and driven
With the increasing number of schools expressing their interest in the program and the growing number of sponsors providing support, there is good reason for the KCh team to be even more passionate and driven.
Bautista underscores the importance of strategic collaboration in the sustainability of a social enterprise like KCh. Because of the necessary accountability to different stakeholders with different interests, she believes engagement is key.
Corporate, individual and multilateral donors will look for where the funding went, the impact on beneficiaries, project milestones and measurable results. Beneficiaries like teachers and principals will look for what’s in it for them and how such an intervention can help without burdening them with more work. Volunteers, who come and go as part of the KCh team, will be looking for psychosocial fulfillment.
Journey of hope
The last 15 years have indeed been a journey of hope and looking forward—for every learner to be their best selves, be truly empowered by their education and be rooted out of poverty. Hence, the KCh team is continuously finding ways to make learning effective, using creative teaching approaches and multimedia learning materials that are engaging and fulfilling for the learners.
From “reaching more, teaching more,” Knowledge Channel brings the future of learning to learners today by making “every space a learning space” and “learning best with KCh.” (By Gellix Mercader)