Sunday, November 23, 2008

August 7, 2008

Pinoy school in Jeddah to teach high-tech voting
RONALD CONCHA, GMANews.TV08/07/2008 12:55 PM

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia — While efforts to automate the Philippine voting system remain bogged down in corruption and political quagmire, a Filipino school in Saudi Arabia is all set to launch its own computerized voting system.

The Philippine Sunrise International School (PSIS) in Jeddah will test the system during the forthcoming Student Council election.PSIS principal Ofelia Laguardia said the project is meant not just to teach their students the use of advance technology to make voting easy but also to ensure the credibility of elections.

“This will prepare them for the future – the computerized voting para hindi na bago sa kanila ang ganitong voting procedure kapag sila ay boboto na para sa kani-kanilang pinuno saan mang sulok ng mundo (so that they will get used to this kind of voting procedure when they vote for their leaders, wherever they may be)," she said.

Eli Sarmiento, head of the project, said the computerized voting system was designed by the school’s topnotch I.T. students.Thea Leslie C. Ramires, chairwoman of the school’s election committee, said computerized voting is just part of their e-learning projects, whose objective is to enhance students skills in information technology.

Added Jameelah Rose Lineses, a member of the committee, "This will avoid redundancy on the votes cast. It eliminates error of omission has a high degree of accuracy."Of the 700 students of PSIS, more than 350 students from the first up to fourth year high school classes are expected to participate in the exercise to elect 15 members of the Student Council.Duringa demonstration recently, Sarmiento showed how parents can also check how their children are faring in school by logging in at

Each student is given an e-mail and students are also included in the inter-messaging system. The school also showed off its online class with students living far from the school participating.Every classroom has a digital projector and Internet wireless access points.

La Guardia said Filipino students in Saudi Arabia are quite fortunate because their parents can afford to spend on projects meant to enhance the learning capabilities and competencies of their children, even if these are somewhat costly.“Kaya karamihan sa mga produkto nang mga Philippine schools dito sa Saudi ay nakikipagsabayan din sa ibang mga mag-aaral sa Pilipinas (that’s why the products of Philippine schools here can compete with top students at home), she said.

Since the Saudi government relaxed its rules on foreign schools at the turn of the century, the number of Philippines schools in the mideastern kingdom has risen five times.Jeddah, which used to have only the Philippine Embassy-founded International Philippine School in Jeddah (IPSJ) has seen five other schools rising.

These are the Al-Hekma International School, PSIS, Pearl of the Orient International School, Gems International School and Al Bader International School. One of Jeddah’s pride is Jeannette Cerbito, an alumnae of Al-Hekma, who has recently graduated magna cum laude at the University of the Philippines. While a student in Jeddah, Cerbito was the most sought after star singer among community organizations. - GMANews.TV

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