August 17, 2022
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) partnered with the Department of Education (DepEd), and Japanese company Keirinkan Co. to introduce a digital-paper math textbook in Visayan language (Smart Lecture), the first in the Philippines as move to help bridge disparities in math education, unlock students' potential, improve their grades, and boost the country's international competitiveness. Smart Lecture is an easy-to-use teaching tool that encourages maximum learning.
The good news is that this Smart Lecture project is introducing a new way to teach math, often one of the most challenging subjects in schools, to young Filipinos. The technology uses Japan's organized structure and quality explanation while matching it with the Philippine curriculum.
It is worth noting that Japanese students have scored higher than global average learners in math, science, and reading, according to data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Japan scored at level 5 or higher in mathematics in the PISA ranking which means Japanese students can interpret and recognize how a situation can be interpreted mathematically even without direct instructions, like comparing distances in two alternative routes or converting prices into different currencies. In the same assessment, the Philippines scored lower than the OECD average ranking among the last in 79 participating countries.
"Improving teaching materials is crucial in enhancing how subjects like math, science, or reading are taught in schools. JICA's partnership with DepEd and renowned Keirinkan Co. is our way to help build human resources and talent in the Philippines and equip students with critical skills in enhancing international competitiveness and lightening the youth's future," said JICA Chief Representative SAKAMOTO Takema.
The Smart Lecture project is part of JICA's Partnership with the Private Sector scheme that taps into innovations of Japanese companies and introduces their ideas and expertise in Japan's partner countries like the Philippines. Keirinkan Co. is a well-known Japanese textbook company in Japan. The company held a pilot study in Cagayan de Oro which showed a significant improvement in math performance among students whose classes introduced Smart Lecture as compared to those that did not. 95% of 180 high school teachers surveyed in Cagayan de Oro also expressed their interest in utilizing Smart Lecture.
The project recently held a conference in Cebu City to introduce the project and assess further needs of Filipino students in the math area.
Through Smart Lecture, Filipino students can watch explainer videos linked to paper-based materials over and over, and can be used even in online classes at home and as supplement to the teachers' lessons. Since the videos are in small data sizes, Filipinos can use it even in weak internet environments and can easily be accessed through mobile phones, computers, and tablets.
Aside from DepEd and Keirinkan Co., other partners involved in the project are another Japanese education leading company Suken, the Mathematical Competency Certification Institute of Japan; KJS Company Ltd., a Japanese ICT company; and e-Education, a non-profit organization that provides film education in the world. When successful, DepEd plans to roll out the project into other regions in the country.