A PARTNERSHIP WITH GOVERNMENT
Regina Paz Lopez, fresh from a long stint in other Third World nations and determined to make a difference in the lives of her fellow Filipinos through the resources available to her, sought out the Secretary Armand Fabella of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS). They agreed on the following:
A Memorandum of Agreement covering the above was signed between the two partners. Sine'skwela (School on Air) was thus born in 1994 with an initial guaranteed lifespan of two years.
- Science was the best subject matter for a TV show given the circumstances.
- The show will be beamed straight to the classrooms.
- DECS and the Department of Science and Technology will be strategic and active partners in the effort.
- The principal target should be public elementary schools nationwide because it was wanting in resources and quality instruction.
- The move necessitates the provision and installation of television monitors for use in the classrooms.
- DECS will make the show mandatory viewing for public elementary schools.
- AFI will underwrite the costs of production.
- AFI, together with DECS, will provide TV sets for all public grade schools in Metro Manila as well as in the regions.
Not content with merely producing a thirty minute educational program, Lopez commissioned the University of the Philippines' respected Institute of Science and Math Education Development, under the directorship of Dr. Milagros Ibe, to conduct independent studies to gauge if student viewers were indeed faring better in science subjects as a result of the exposure to the show. Lopez wanted to ascertain that the efforts and finances poured into the pioneering program delivered a substantial return; i.e. improved academic performance.
Dr. Ibe reported, after a mid-year and year-end assessment, that:
The evaluation confirmed that pupils exposed to Sine'skwela are better (than the students who were taught using traditional classroom methods, i.e. not exposed to TV-assisted instruction) at using process skills like:
- Sine'skwela succeeded in effecting better learning in science by pupils who were exposed to the program.
- The results indicate that while the novelty factor could have caused higher scores of the Experimental group in the mid-year evaluation, the year end scores (after the novelty effect is assumed to have waned) are still in favor of the Experimental group.
With promising results, former Secretary of Education, Ricardo Gloria amended the Memorandum of Agreement which his predecessor signed to extend the screen life of Sine'skwela to ten more years. Consequently, the show will be aired until the year 2006.
Today, Sine'skwela helps develop in children a scientific value-oriented attitude that will make them productive and innovative citizens. It succeeds in enhancing children's comprehension, attention and academic performance in Science and has been found to help a strong Filipino science culture necessary for national development.