Tuesday, 28 November 2006
Archived from viapc-1.com
Just like many other developing countries, computers are not as ubiquitous in the Philippines as they should be. And as in the case of many other significantly digitally divided countries, the reasons for this are much the same. I wasn’t surprised to learn yesterday that the main barrier to computer access in the Philippines is affordability, or lack thereof. This is precisely the reason that the VIA pc-1 workshop I attended yesterday was headlined Affordable PCs for Education and Development.
Held in one of the APEC Digital Opportunity Center (ADOC) computer labs at the Philippines National Computer Center, the workshop was organized by the Institute for Information Industry (III), ADOC, the Philippine eLearning Society (PELS) and the Philippines Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT). VIA Technologies and eWay Technology Systems sponsored the workshop, as well as assisting in running the event.
The workshop was very much a hands-on affair and was attended by various individuals including education professionals, government and NGO representatives. I had the opportunity to speak with many of those who were present and I was very impressed with the collective enthusiasm on the prospect of low-cost computing. I did, however, get the impression that before the workshop began some of them thought it all sounded too good to be true. But by the end of the day, everyone in attendance was convinced that not only is low-cost computing a reality, its also very achievable.
St Francis de Sales Minor Seminary (SFSMinor), a boys' high school in Lipa City, took charge of its own P1,500/year Web solution with Minimatech in April 2009.
In the picture, Vice-Rector and ICT Champion Rev. Fr. Oscar L. Andal watches as CoWeb pioneer Laury tutors teachers in simple Web publishing for their own teaching needs.
The whole Minimatech Team visited SFSMinor for the one-day training in the school's Internet laboratory. The CoWeb Champion at SFSMinor is Corazon Flores.
Cora's own website is at coraflores.sfsminor.org while the school's website is at sfsminor.org. The school is also developing other teacher's websites and a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) facility, all housed in a single Minimatech site priced at P1,500 per year!
Chancellor Velasco tests the eBox2300.
UPLB through the College of Public Affairs has been researching on low-cost computing solutions since 2005. The technology package is called eMinima, which means “easy” to use and “minimalist” in its requirements.
In November 2006, through the support of Chancellor Luis Rey Velasco and pioneering work of Dr. Raffy Mananghaya, the chipmaker VIA Technologies, the Philippine eLearning Society and the ICT Commission (CICT) launched an Affordable Computing Workshop that demonstrated low-cost PC solutions. The workshop featured the VIA integrated board and Puppy Linux Operating System. It also featured a tiny PC, the eBox2300 (shown in the picture being tested by Chancellor Velasco), which can deliver day-to-day computing at only 15 watts maximum power consumption.
The successful workshop prompted CICT in January 2007 to adopt a PC4ALL program that advocated the use of $200 PC package (P10,000, given the exchange rate at the time).
Intel's D201GLY integrated board.
Dr. Ranola with the eee PC.