paranoid teachers

Of Teachers and Automation

wizard1Automation, as the very name implies, cuts down the time, money and effort spent for specific chores. Why then do teachers dread this very word especially, but  more especially, if they have to get on with it untrained come election time.

I don’t think teachers have the phobia of computers. I don’t think they fear the keyboard. I don’t think they fear errors they will make in handling computers. I don’t think they are frightened of the pandora they are going to let out by a mere touch of a key. I don’t think they are afraid of making mistakes. I believe that they are afraid of not being able to correct the mistakes that they are bound to make.

Teachers are trained to teach the correct and rightful things so much so that they wouldn’t be able to correct any mistake they make in teaching. These are only a very few mistakes to say the most. Therefore they will be unable to correct mistakes that they might make in this election equipment, or so they think.

Then again they might not have gone through this sort of computer training before. This is a hands-on training in which they are taught to handle the keyboard in the correct manner and at the same time make corrections as they go along. They will learn the functions of the backspace, then scratch head, escape, then scratch back, delete, then drink more coffee, reboot, then finally to go to the bathroom to scream and pull on hair. This would be all in fun, particularly at that time when just about everybody has gone baldheaded.

All kidding aside, training on this equipment would take only half an hour. The rest of the day would be consumed in the familiarizing with the equipment, comelec procedures, bonding with the equipment, and consuming the baon in case Comelec is scroogy enough not to provide the teachers with free lunch.

The polling equipment is basically a counting equipment. The same results could of course be accomplished if everybody is provided a computer wherein he can go online and select their candidates to stick a vote on. It would be more convenient, however, for everybody concerned if a ballot is provided uniquely for each voter and let them shade out the circles corresponding to their chosen candidates. This ballot is then fed to a scanner which simultaneously reads and tallies the votes. This method would be as simple as selecting your numbers in a lottery card and having this card read by a terminal in some store. The ballot is considerably larger than a lottery entry card, of course. Why? Because the ballot has to have the names of the candidates on it in large print instead of mere numbers in a lotto card. And, as in a lotto card, the vote is tallied according to the position the shaded choice is in. The ballot scanner will tally the votes as regards to the position in the ballot the vote is shaded. This is why the ballot is rolled in for reading by the scanner.

And the teachers’ role in this election? Much of the work of the teacher is done by the equipment. And these are namely: counting the votes in the middle of the night, sorting out spoiled ballots, bundling these ballots and bringing these manually to the comelec receiving stations, reporting to the comelec the results of the precint, and also some voter validation procedures.

The bulk of the teachers’ work in this election would be the validation of the voters and the handing out of the ballot to each one, instructing them what to do as the ballot is handed over. The completed ballot would then be scanned by the voter under the teachers’ careful supervision. If a receipt of the votes are printed out, then the teachers check this and gives this receipt to the voter.  Easy as swallowing a long-tailed puto bumbong, no?

Standard election procedures would include having copies of eligible voters’ names , tacked on a wall by the precint door. These names would serve as the first voter screening for the precint. It also serves as an instruction as to which desk or counter the voter would go. The teacher on that desk or counter would then proceed to validate the identity of the voter and hand him the ballot. Simple, isn’t it? It would be as easy as swallowing a………I think I said that already.

At any rate, this election procedure  would not take the whole day for the teachers to learn. It might take a lunch  and several free snacks to finish, though.

If the teachers could still not learn the procedure within that time, they could of course ask for more time and more lunch and snacks at another training day.


 (Note that the above procedure is what I know and is proven to work for a lot of elections held elsewhere. The COMELEC may have a different and as-yet-unknown procedure. Do follow what the commissioners tell you to do. It can’t be that much different!)  

Teachers’ Paranoia

Whoa! Wettaminit! Teka muna, teka muna….I was not referring to 80,000 IT personnel deputized as COMELEC surrogates. This would place 1 IT personnel for every voting precint. This would not only be extravagant, but it will create confusion. The COMELEC will be handling the logistics  not only for the teachers but for this 80,000-man army as well. This is a no-no! And  what would this IT personnel be assigned to do?  Why,  just  to hold the hands of teachers who happened to be terrified of high tech.

No offense meant to the teachers, but while they are known to handle the computer keyboards well, they are also known to panic when they make mistakes. But this automated system will be as simple as pie. In truth, operating these machines are lots, lots simpler than operating the checkout registers in a grocery store.

OBSERVE: The cashier in a grocery store must operate a scale to determine the weight of an item, plus a scanner to scan the bar code, plus a visa or debit card reader, plus discount coupon readers, plus the cash register, and deal out change.

The teachers’ time in this automated elections would be concentrated mostly on the validation of the voters, and this procedure is easily done by scanning the voters’ cards and thumb print. The machines will do the verification. Afterwards the teachers will give the voter a ballot wherein they enter their choices. All the teachers will have to do is accept the completed ballot and run this through a scanner in front of the voter. That’s it! Next voter, please.

It is really very simple, just like peeling boiled peanuts on the shell!

The teachers are just paranoid, as if they are expected to fly a plane the first time around. COMELEC should start orienting some of them now for the hands on experience. Teach them how to use keys like escape, backspace, delete, and restart. This is similar to letting them touch the horse before they ride it. And we do not need special tutors to teach them this.