education, Philippines, television

1995 Flashback: The Boom of Educational TV Shows

Led by the award-winning ‘SineSkwela’, educational programs in the Philippines received a big boost in 1995. (Logo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

1995 was a memorable year in Philippine television. As part of a year-long special, From the Tube will look back at a year full of historical debuts, unforgettable moments, and celebrated feats in the history of television in the country.

It’s back to school for students across the Philippines.

School year 2015-16 is now underway in every public school in the country, with private institutions starting theirs the week after. For big-name tertiary schools such as UP, Ateneo, La Salle and UST, opening of classes would come a few months later, as part of their alignment with the academic calendars of other countries.

Back in school year 1995-96, a surge in educational TV programs took place. The said school year saw the establishment of two different series of educational programs: ABS-CBN’s ETV (Educational Television), and PTV-4’s CONSTEL (Continuing Education via Television).

ABS-CBN’s ETV series initially consisted of the following programs:

SineSkwela – the flagship program of the ETV series which tackles a variety of topics related to elementary science, health and technology.

Hiraya Manawari – focuses on fantasy stories with lessons on good values and morals.

Bayani – discusses historic Filipino heroes through a dramatic retelling of their struggles and triumphs.

The ETV series introduced three other programs a few years later, consisting of:

Math-Tinik – features lessons related to elementary mathematics.

Epol/Apple – examines the proper use of elementary English in everyday conversations.

Pahina – analyzes classical Filipino literature through dramatization of said stories.

The ETV series initially aired on ABS-CBN during weekday mornings for much of the mid-90s. The debut of Knowledge Channel in 1999 soon prompted the network to move the ETV programs to the said channel, leading to a change in ABS-CBN’s early-morning landscape that remains to this day.

The ETV programs also aired on Studio 23 (now ABS-CBN Sports+Action). Videotapes and DVDs of the said programs were also sold and donated to schools through ABS-CBN Foundation.

Meanwhile, PTV-4’s CONSTEL series consisted of the following programs:

Science Made Easy – a telecourse for elementary students that features lessons on basic science.

Chemistry in Action – a telecourse for high school students that features lessons on chemistry.

Physics in Everyday Life – a telecourse for college students that features lessons on physics.

CONSTEL English – introduced a few years later, the series was a telecourse for high school students that features lesson on English language and grammar.

PTV-4’s CONSTEL series was produced by the network in cooperation with what is now the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Foundation for the Upgrading of Standards in Education (FUSE). The series continues to air on a sporadic basis, even during the time PTV-4 was known as NBN under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The CONSTEL series was also picked up by Knowledge Channel and is currently airing on a recurring basis.

While ‘Fun with Math’ was also introduced around this time, it was not considered part of the CONSTEL series. Nevertheless, the program served a similar purpose in promoting education through television.

The resurgence of educational TV programs was a big moment in Philippine television in 1995. Today, these programs continue to benefit teachers in any way possible, and influence a young generation of students everywhere.

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entertainment, news, Philippines, radio, television

ABS-CBN Hits Big Again with the ‘Tulong Na’ Shirts

ABS-CBN’s ‘Tulong Na, Tabang Na, Tayo Na’ shirts were initially conceived for charitable causes, but its immediate popularity led to two successful concerts on November 16 and December 10.

When Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) struck the country a month ago, it left a trail of dead bodies, fallen trees and damaged structures. After the typhoon’s impact became all too gruesome for the human mind, the international community started donating sums of money and relief items for the victims of Haiyan. And ABS-CBN was among those who came to the rescue.

Days after Haiyan left the country, ABS-CBN launched their charity shirt bearing a fish-like symbol and the phrase ‘Tulong Na, Tabang Na, Tayo Na’. The shirts became available at the ABS-CBN Store in the network’s Quezon City headquarters last November 12, and was later sold online through Shopinas.com and at Ayala Malls in the country. It was also sold during various ABS-CBN-sponsored events such as mall shows.

The ‘Tulong Na’ shirt became an immediate hit thanks to its cheap price (P250) and strong message, not to mention additional publicity thanks to 30-second ads, a telethon, and television programs featuring ABS-CBN personalities. And last November 16, the Kapamilya network held a benefit concert at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, with the shirt being given for free to ticket buyers.

The said concert from November 16 was such a success that another concert was held at the same venue last December 10, again with the ‘Tulong Na’ shirt distributed along with the tickets. ABS-CBN typically holds a Christmas concert at this time of the year, but on this night, the concert was about raising hope and prosperity to the victims of the typhoon. The concert entitled ‘Kwento ng Pasko: Pag-asa at Pagbangon’ will be aired in a two-part special this weekend on ABS-CBN.

In many ways, the popularity of the ‘Tulong Na’ shirts capped off a successful year for ABS-CBN. With top-rated programs outplaying the opposition almost every day, and with more potentially successful programs in the works, the Kapamilya network is definitely poised for bigger things this 2014.

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