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Gilas project gearing up to computerize Bohol

IJsselstein, Thursday, 5 October 2006

Some time ago, we started a small scale project to provide schools in the Philippines with refurbished computers. In the context of this project, we've shipped about 15 computers, with peripherals such as monitors, printers, keyboards, mice, etc. to various schools and an NGO in Bohol.

Last year, we discontinued this project, not because we lost interest in trying to increase computer literacy in Bohol, but because we doubted the project at its current scale was effective and efficient. However we continue to follow developments and possibilities to encourage computer literacy in Bohol and the Philippines in general. One of the developments we follow with much interest is the 100 dollar laptop project, on which we wrote earlier.

Recently we learned about and got in touch with the Gilas project, an ambitious project initiated by the Ayala foundation to provide all high schools in the Philippines with a computer class, and we were happy to learn that one of the focus areas will be Bohol.

Access to computers and the internet is essential in modern society. Not only is computer literacy a requirment for almost all office jobs, computers and the internet also give access to an unprecedented wealth of knowledge, including such tremendous resources as Wikipedia (a collective encyclopedia), Project Gutenberg (literary classics and other older books, including many from the Philippines), Google Maps (satellite and air photographs and maps of virtually the entire world), and countless other resources, that would be impossible to provide with traditional paper resources.

The Internet also helps to connect people around the world through email, instant messaging, or VOIP (voice-over-IP or telephone on computers), far more cheaper than ever before.

The scope of the challenge is enormous. Of the 5789 public high schools in the Philippines, only about 40 percent has a computer labratory accessible to students, and less than 6 percent has access to the internet. Gilas aims to provide all schools with a computer lab of at least 10 machines, and internet connectivity in the coming five years.

Sometimes, the challenges are even bigger, with schools in remote areas. On Bohol, on the island of Cabilao, already one school is connected through the internet through satellite connections. In other places, other innovative (and cheaper) methods may be required to link up with the Internet. Under investigation are techniques like directional WiFi, which can bridge upto 10 kilometers with just two hundred dollars worth of equipment.

If taken up bit-by-bit, the challenge can be met. According to Gilas figures, it costs about PHP 300,000, or USD 6000 to provide a school with a 10-computer lab and one year connectivity to the internet. The Gilas organization takes care for support and sustainability of the project.

The Gilas project also does a lot of work to get support in form of donations and technical support. Sometimes, provicial and local governments have agreed to match donations from private sources, effectively allowing you to help to get a computer labratory for your old school for an even lower amount.

This is a call from our side to support the Gilas project for your own (former) high-school. When you are living abroad, there may be many ways to raise funds, from having a garage sale to organizing a charity event.

Further documentation

The official Gilas website.

A Basic FAQ sheet on Gilas (in PDF format)

Jeroen Hellingman

What readers think...

Annabella Fuentes wrote:
Wednesday, 11 April 2007 14:45:26 PHT
This is a nice project. Wow, glad to know that Bohol is on the move towards IT. My husband and I own a business development company(CBG) in Talibon, we are also working to bring computers and Information Technology to Northern Bohol Areas. We are getting ready to do a contract with Ubay and build a LAN. ALso, we are looking to employ technicians and IT people from Bohol in the next few months. You can email me here or thru our website at WWW.CALBIZGROUP.COM------lets work together and build Bohol
Elgie Bugas wrote:
Monday, 15 January 2007 08:50:05 PHT
Presently I am now working to install an Internet Infrastruture in our urban poor community situated in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, on which most of the household we initially targeted is abouth 67, most of this household do not have computers on their homes, but most of this household have children attending schools mostly in publics schools. I can offer them connection to the internet (broadband) for just a minimal setup fee with no monthly obligations since we will use a pre-paid type of logging to the net. The company to which I was negotiating to have a retailing of the internet use has already pilot tested this type of connection to one area in tagbilaran and is successful, My area will be the second site for this internet infra. My problem is that most of the household cannot afford to have this computer since it cost about 20,000 pesos to own one and I was thinking that aside from donating this to DepEd to distribute the OLPC, why not also extend it to URBAN POOR families since we are under a local organization for the urban poor that is Tagbilaran Urban Poor Organization (TAUPO) on which there are sizeable urban poor communities situated within a city that also needs this OLPC. This is just an idea, if you can help me on this by giving me requirements maybe we can negotiation our local government to facilitate this issue, since we can give them access to the internet, they only lack computers. We can also provide technical support and maintenance if this will be feasible.
Franco Labella wrote:
Wednesday, 10 January 2007 15:55:46 PHT
Aloha! to all my kapwa boholanos and boholanas, I am so happy and excited to know that this project, GILAS PROJECT is on going right now in our place. I am very proud to be a filipino and a boholano, where I was born and race till I came here in Hawaii, USA. I am a graduate of Computer Networking & Technology here in Honolulu. And I would like to contribute any help I can in order to make a difference in our boholano youths at schools. I am a Microsoft Certified Professional and please let me know how I can help. I maybe goin back there in the summer for vacation and I would be honered and glad to help in this project. Please email me or my contact phone here in Hawaii is 1-808-203-9430. I am so glad that our place there in Bohol is moving up in Technology. So to all of you my brothers and sisters in Bohol, keep up the good work and take pride in who we are. ALOHA & MAHALO, FRANCO
Louie B. Daplinan wrote:
Wednesday, 22 November 2006 22:00:40 PHT
Gilas Project is very important project and a great help to remote places here in Bohol. Just recently, my hometown-Sikatuna now has an internet provided by National Computer Center (NCC)4 units. Go back to the Gilas project, I am willing to contribute my little knowledge in Computer Operations- especially the Microsoft Office Package (WORD, PowerPoint, Excel,Access, Project and etc.) I have also a little knowledge on Lotus Notes and of course on Microsoft Internet Browser and typing. I am available only every June of each year since it is my annual vacation. Please let me know if I could help.
Rolando Balili wrote:
Wednesday, 25 October 2006 21:50:28 PHT
Hi I would like to help maintain the old computers use for the Gilas Project deployed already in Bohol, drop me a line so we can talk the possiblities.

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