Distance learning is a logical vehicle to deliver educational services to institutions, communities and households across the country as a means of reducing the problems associated with inadequate facilities and cultural inhibitors to girls’ education in particular. It may also be a useful alternative in rural and remote areas where there is a shortage of trained teachers. Distance education is not a cheap substitute for face-to-face student-teacher interaction. It may well be, however, an important and effective way of directing the new curriculum to remote or other under-served areas as an adjunct to traditional school based delivery. It can also be used as a component of teachers’ in-service and possibly pre-service training (UNESCO, 2008).
Recent news indicate some of the moves being initiated by some Philippine senators and congressmen to strengthen the open and distance education in the country. Because of this, more support and recognition will be given to open and distance e-learning (ODeL). Here are some of the bills: Senate Bill No. 2155 Open Learning and Distance Education Act, filed by Angara, seeks to institutionalize DE in the Philippines; Villar bats for the passage of DE Bill co-sponsored Senate Bill No. 2274, the Open Learning and DE Act of 2014; House Bill No. 4883 An Act to Expand Access to Education through Open Learning and Distance Education in Post-secondary and Tertiary Levels of Education, Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes by Villar et al., where the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) are mandated to regulate distance education programs offered by post secondary schools or institutions. Moreover, the University of the Philippines Open University shall spearhead the development of new distance education programs and contribute to the body of knowledge on open learning and distance education through research projects (The Philippine House of Representatives has approved the final reading of House Bill 4883 that will declare the University of the Philippines Open University as the national Open University of the Philippines). In addition, Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo (member of the House of Representatives and Chairperson, House Committee on Higher and Technical Education) endorsed and defended House Bill No. 4553, a consolidation of nine separate bills, in the plenary. HB 4553 is the proposed Open Distance Learning Act, as contained under Committee Report No. 280, seeks to implement distance education as a system of delivering quality higher educational services in the country. This encourages media and telecommunications networks to promote open learning and distance education programs. It also grants tax exemption to individuals and organizations that provide appropriate materials, time, and delivery support services for the promotion of open distance learning in partnership with the HEIs (Luci, 2014). Another bill, House Bill No. 4161, authored by Rep. Gus Tambunting (2nd District, Parañaque City) defines the open electronic learning school system as a system of delivering educational services to high school, college and advance studies students utilizing print, radio, television and computer-based communications, satellite broadcasting, teleconferencing, and other multimedia learning and teaching technologies without going to classes regularly (Camero, 2014).
On the other hand, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has issued the following memorandum orders related to distance education in the Philippines: CMO No. 05 s. 2002 (Moratorium on the Opening of Programs via the Open Learning and Distance Education (OL/DE) both Print and Non-Print Mode and the Monitoring and Evaluation of all Higher Education Institutions offering OL/DE programs), CMO No. 06 s. 2003 (Policies and Guidelines on Transnational Education), and CMO No. 27 s. 2005 (Policies and Guidelines on Distance Education). In the CHED Strat Plan 2011-2016, it mentioned that in order to achieve Objective 3 (broadened access to quality higher education of those who seek it), CHED will encourage alternative learning systems and modes of delivery.
There is also a bill for Open High School / DE for basic education.