"The goal of GILAS is to bring the Internet to ALL public high schools around the country. So even if schools do not come to us, we go to them and encourage them to apply. Whoever requests that a school be connected or refers a school to us for connection, it really does not matter to us.. This is because, as I said, we plan to connect ALL of the schools anyway."

Mario Deriquito, Program Director , Ayala Foundation

 

Questions to Mr. Derequito and his answers:

1.  What's the criteria on selecting a school to be prioritized? 

1.       The school must be within the service area of a telecom company

2.       The school must have a computer laboratory with at least 10 units of computers, tables and chairs, and proper ventilation. (This was provided by class'64 in 2004)

3.       The school must not be a recipient of a similar program sponsored by other organizations.

4.       The school must be willing to shoulder the cost of electricity, supplies, repairs and maintenance of the computers, and other administrative expenses. (currently funded by class'64 according to the principal).

5.       The school must be willing to assume the monthly cost of the Internet Service Provider and telephone line after the one-year free period. (currently funded by class'64)

6.      The school must be able to solicit support for the project from other players such as the local government unit, local leaders, PTA, local school board, private companies and individuals, etc.

7.       The school must be willing to send teachers who are willing to undergo technical training on Internet literacy, PC maintenance and Local Area Network administration and give the same training to the students. 

8.      The Division of Schools and the school itself must be willing to adopt the training on the use of computers and the Internet as part of the school curriculum.

2.  How did Villamor High School get picked? 

The school met the above criteria .  In addition, our donor, the Ayala land, Inc., gave us a list of priority areas, which included Manila.

3.   When did the initial paper work process start for the connection and donation for Villamor High School?  

Orientation and validation were conducted last August 2006. Donation from Ayala Land    came last November 2006

4.  Who are the people involved in processing the paper work? 

GILAS staff and the school principal   

5.  When will the one-year free connectivity end? 

The school was connected to the Internet last January 2007, and will end January 2008.

GILAS HISTORY

In the past decade, the Department of Education (DepEd), the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) embarked on various programs for public high schools focused primarily on providing computers and basic computer literacy. These computers were distributed more than 5 years ago, so most of the computers have either become obsolete or non-functional, unless these have been upgraded or replaced. In any case, very few were equipped with the hardware necessary for basic Internet access.
 
On the other hand, the DTI's Personal Computers for Public Schools (PCPS) program, which commenced a little over 2 years ago, provided computer laboratories to a total of 2,096 public high schools nationwide. The computers were donated by the Japanese government via a government-to-government grant. At that time, the main aim of the program was to provide computer literacy, not Internet literacy. Most of the computers distributed then are still in good working condition and now provide a relevant platform on which to build an Internet access and literacy program. 

In 2000, Ayala Foundation launched its Youth Tech program to provide Internet connectivity packages to some of the PCPS recipient schools. With the assistance of other organizations like Intel and Foundation for IT Education and Development (FIT-ED), the program also provided basic teacher training for both computer and Internet literacy. By the end of 2004, Youth Tech managed to connect a total of 170 high schools.

In 2001, a consortium of 28 private corporations and foundations called ConnectEd.ph was organized by the Makati Business Club primarily to further augment that initial effort. The consortium sought to provide direction and coordination in order to scale-up the provision of Internet connectivity to public high schools. At the end of 2004, Connect.Ed managed to wire another 80 schools, bringing the total number of public high schools connected to 323.

While all these initiatives made some modest gains in addressing the digital divide, 323 out of 5,443 high schools barely scratches the surface. If the Internet is to make any meaningful impact on the system, some ramping up to a significantly larger scale was necessary. GILAS (Gearing up Internet Literacy and Access for Students) was conceived by a group of private sector leaders of like mind and mission: to raise the ante and cover the entire system of 5,433 public high schools in 5 years. Clearly, achieving that pace would require a much larger alliance of private corporations public and quasi-public organizations.
 
 Mr. Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala II, president and CEO of the Ayala Corporation, and Senator Manuel Roxas, the prime mover of the PCPS program when he was Trade and Industry Secretary are providing leadership for the consortium as Working Co-Chairs of the Steering Committee for GILAS. Under the leadership of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and then Department of Education Secretary Florencio Abad Jr., the government has fully endorsed this new initiative and is committed to working with GILAS to achieve this ambitious outcome. Leaders from some of the country's most influential corporations, relevant government institutions, and the socio-civic community comprise the membership of the committee.