A teacher from Claudio Sandoval Elementary School in Coron, Palawan attests that her class became more active and engaged when she applied what she learned from LEEP trainingEven for a nonstudent viewer, the Knowledge Channel proffers gems that engage and engross. A perusal of Channel 5, its channel assignment on ABS-CBN TVplus, yielded “Sining sa Lipunan.” An episode titled “Habing Pilipino” reintroduced us to former child actor Atong Redillas and his cohost, who delved into the weaving traditions of the B’laan and Bagobo tribes in Mindanao.
Another time, there was a throwback to high school lessons as the host who owns a PhD hosted a chemistry course for Grade 10 teachers.
The K Channel, the flagship project of Knowledge Channel Foundation Inc. (KCFI), boosts learning by providing students and teachers with videos, games and apps to supplement the lessons in the classroom. These multimedia learning resources tackle Science, Math, English, Filipino, Araling Panlipunan and Values Education for the K-12 levels.
The former Sky Foundation, fresh from celebrating its 16th anniversary just last month, forges on with its crusade to “uplift the lives of Filipinos from poverty through education.”
KCFI’s latest efforts include digital terrestrial television (DTT), a new training program and an expanded volunteer base, says KCFI president and executive director Rina Lopez Bautista.
In February 2015, the K Channel became one of the four new channels bundled with the ABS-CBN TVPlus also known as the “mahiwagang black box” alongside DZMM TeleRadyo, Yey! and CineMo. As of May, more than 300,000 units of the box have been sold in Metro Manila, North Luzon and Cebu, catapulting the K Channel into the consciousness of thousands of home KCFI president Rina Lopez-Bautista shares a laugh with DepEd Sec. Br. Armin Luistro when he visited the exhibit of KCFI’s 15th anniversary book, “Turo,” in November 2014viewers.
“Bringing the Knowledge Channel into the homes, especially lower-income homes, through DTT will help in the education of the kids, and the parents. So we have tools for the students and the teachers, and now we’ll also have for the parents,” emphasizes Bautista. “Another benefit of DTT is that it will be much easier to get the Knowledge Channel into the public schools. You just put the box—there’s no need any more for cable or for a huge satellite dish.”
This development necessitates some tweaking of the K Channel’s content, from something that’s chiefly geared towards the schools into a mix that will be suitable for household viewing as well.
“We will make sure that it’s relevant to the schools, to life, to being a global Filipino faced with critical issues,” adds the KCFI president, who keeps herself updated on the latest education trends by reading education-related materials as well as leveraging their experiences and learnings in the past 15 years.
Bautista notes that a recent survey of 40,000 students indicated that respondents who watched the K Channel “outperformed all other respondents all across grade levels by up to 45%.” Meanwhile, an older study, conducted by the University of the Philippines in 2007, showed that K Channel viewers achieved as much as a 3% increase in National Achievement Test scores—a monster jump considering that an improvement of .5% is already cause for jubilation, according to the Department of Education (DepEd).
Since it was founded in 1999, some 3.9 million school children in more than 3,000 schools from 63 provinces all over the Philippines have benefited from the learning resources of the K Channel.
Taking a LEEP
“Marami pa pala akong hindi alam, marami pa palang pwedeng gawin,” says a Batangas teacher in a plug for Learning Effectively through Enhanced Pedagogies (LEEP) on the K Channel.
Launched in 2013, LEEP aims to prepare teachers and principals for the full-blast transition to the K-12 program where an additional two years of senior high school will follow four years of high school.
“LEEP is developed to help the teachers in the classrooms to continuously hone their craft, improve their leadership abilities, and touch the hearts, minds and lives of the students, especially now within the context of the many changes in education,” Bautista says.
Teachers and principals learn different teaching methodologies while having fun in a three-day activity-filled LEEP trainingLEEP is mainly a teacher training program, but also affords principals who attend the three-day activity a way of keeping abreast of what their subordinates are going through on the ground.
To date, LEEP trainings have been conducted in more than 1,000 schools all over the country.
While the benefits of physical and cosmetic upgrades such as painting or repainting school buildings and providing desks, electric fans and other equipment cannot be discounted, “the most important thing to really focus on is the teaching and learning process,” the KCFI president says.
She adds: “Without supporting the teacher and the students, 21st century education will not happen the way we want it to happen.”
LEEP, which has received excellent reviews from the program participants, becomes even more crucial in view of the implementation of the Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metric (SEA-PLM) to align the curriculum of the Southeast Asian nations.
“Among the first ones that are going to test the SEA-PLM are Laos and Cambodia. We’re not ready because we’re only going to K-12 now. But then, countries like Laos and Cambodia, they’re ready. So we have to continue with K-12, even with all its imperfections,” Bautista stresses.
Meanwhile, with all these things on its plate, the KCFI chief looks to grow their volunteer base as one of the foundation’s immediate goals.
“I liken it to the American Cancer Society, where they have a minimum number of employees but 300 volunteers all over the place who take care of training and deploying, monitoring and assessment,” she notes.
Another major KCFI undertaking, the Superintendents’ Leadership Program (SLP), is moving ahead following a DepEd directive that all schools division superintendents and assistant superintendents must go through the program. With 107 officials in two batches having completed the SLP, and 52 in a third batch undergoing the program, the foundation looks to start five more batches by 2016, Bautista says.