Philippine Educational Broadcasting

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Philippine Educational Broadcasting started when the Japanese used radio to teach Filipinos the Japanese language during World War II. The first Filipino-made programs, however, began with university experiments in the use of radio in "distance learning" projects. These programs were designed to reach provincial farmers who could not afford regular school attendance due to lack of funds or the distance of their homes from schools. The first television educational programs were syndicated and franchised American programs for children. It wasn't until the 1980s that the first original Philippine educational program aired on TV.

Educational broadcasting in the Philippines encompasses two categories of learning enhancement broadcasting: instructional and educational broadcasting.


Instructional and Educational Broadcasting

Instructional and educational broadcasting systematically use broadcast technology to enhance learning. They aim to improve the skills and knowledge of an identified target audience using programs which are sequential and sustained over a period of time. Shows can either be part of a curriculum (direct-teaching or enrichment programs) or broadcast as part of regular programming.

Instructional and educational broadcasting have different target audiences. Instructional broadcasting usually targets adults who wish to learn more about a certain craft or trade. It also aims to give information to rurally-situated families which would help improve their lives. Some programs provide information to people who can't afford to go to a professional for help, such as legal aid. It serves as a substitute for formal classroom learning.

Educational broadcasting, on the other hand, targets children and serves as a way to enrich classroom learning. It features programs which aim to reinforce lessons learned in school and are usually entertaining as well as educational.

General History

Educational and instructional broadcasting began in Europe in 1924, when the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) started “school broadcasting”. They produced shows for children and linked these with televisions located in British classrooms. Germany followed suit in 1926.

It was only a few years later that American television networks saw the benefits of having educational programming. In 1928, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) produced an educational program on music appreciation. Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) produced a “school-on-the-air” in the same year, and other networks in other countries soon came out with their own programs.

Networks were always trying to outdo the competition; finding new ways to entertain and inform was important to keep audiences listening in. As a result, a Canadian radio station was able to broadcast the first radio forum program in 1941.

In 1973, the long-running and incredibly successful educational program called “Sesame Street”, produced by the Children's Television Workshop (CTW), started airing. “Electric Company”, also by CTW, started airing the same year.

British art program “Art Attack” started airing in 1989 and was axed in 2007.

Instructional Radio

Instructional radio broadcasting began in the Philippines in 1943 during World War II, when the Japanese used radio to teach Filipinos basic Nippongo.

Learning programs took a backseat to entertainment after the Japanese left, and it wasn't until 1952 that Pacifico Sundario produced a “school-on-the-air” for Iloilo Farmers on AM radio station DYRI, which had a frequency of 1280 Khz.

In 1958, the University of the Philippines (UP) established university radio station DZUP in the College of Engineering in Diliman. Six years later, DZLB was born in UP Los Baños.

DZUP's programming primarily include music programs, music request shows, talk news programs and other informative segments and talk shows for students and other members of the Diliman community. It is used as a laboratory for broadcast students of the College of Mass Communication.

DZLB, also known as “Ang Tinig ng Nayon” or “Radyo DZLB” is the oldest existing rural educational non-commercial entity in the Philippines. Its first broadcast was in 1962 for an “experimental agricultural extension tool”, but it officially went on air in 1964.

The station aims to use radio to enhance community development and produce radio programs that would interest rural audiences and usually broadcast lessons on agriculture and home life such as methods of using new varieties of rice and health news for homemakers.. It also serves as a training ground for students of Development Communication. It has received awards and grants from international institutions.

Educational Television

Several educational programs have been aired on television over the years, some imported and others adapted. But there have also been very good Filipino productions. In 1997, all Philippine television networks were required by the Children’s Television Act of 1997 to allot 15% of their total air time for child-friendly programs. While many stations choose to air cartoons instead of learning shows, there are alternatives for parents and children who want to watch something more substantial.

In the 1960s, ABS-CBN decided to syndicate “Romper Room”, an American children's program. The station featured canned shows at first, but soon were able to produce a Filipinized version featuring a Filipino host and Filipino children.

Other programs syndicated for Philippine viewing include Children’s Television Workshop (CTW) programs, which have been airing since the 1970s. “Sesame Street”, the most popular CTW program, was franchised in the Philippines as “Kalye Sesame”, but the show’s Filipino dubbing was shoddy and contained linguistic inaccuracies. It was hugely unpopular and was thus discontinued; networks decided instead to air the English version of the show instead of the localized one.

To address the need for a good Filipino-language educational show, the Philippine Children’s Television Foundation Inc. (PCTVF)-produced show “Batibot” was aired in 1984. It was based on “Sesame Street” and initially named “Sesame!”. The show was a magazine-format educational program featuring actors, such as Kuya Bodjie (Bodjie Pascua), along with puppets, to teach Filipino values and basic skills to children. CTW lent some of their creatures to Batibot (“Pong Pagong” and “Kiko Matsing”), and took them back later on due to licensing issues.

More than a decade later, November 6, 1999, “The Knowledge Channel” (TKC) started broadcasting. It is an all-educational cable TV channel developed by Sky Foundation, which is headed by members of the Lopez family, who also manage ABS-CBN.

The channel is made available for free in public schools. It was deemed mandatory viewing for public school children by the Department of Education in the year 2000, and features shows designed to accompany lessons being taught in school according to the Department of Education’s prescribed curriculum.

Other educational programs that have been aired in the Philippines include ATBP, 5 and Up, Tele-aralan ng Kakayahan, Art Angel and Hiraya Manawari.

Government Programs

The Department of Education (DepEd) has Continuing Education via Television (CONSTEL), which aims to upgrade the teaching skills of elementary and secondary school teachers of Science and English, but it relies mostly on private media groups such as ABS-CBN to provide public school students with educational programs. Programs from the ABS-CBN-owned Knowledge Channel has been required viewing in public schools since the year 2000.


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