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Mabalacat, Philippine e-hubs aid students’ education

The city government of Mabalacat is helping students adjust to educational shifts under the new normal by establishing 14 e-hubs that are equipped with desktops, printers, and reliable Internet connections.

According to a press release, the hubs are located all over the city. The Mabalacat City Information Officer, Jose Aubrey Pelayo IV, noted that students who have scheduled classes on a given day could avail of the services of the e-hubs to access their tasks and discussions online. “As education is one of our top priorities, we are delighted to see that students are determined to finish their studies. That kind of attitude is what makes the city government eager to help not only the students but also the parents and teachers,” he stated.

People who do not have classes can also utilise the facilities, given that there is equipment available. The city government also allocated funds to purchase equipment in the e-hubs. Authorities identified a strategic clustering of barangays to put up the e-hubs. Priority locations include regions with bigger populations and where facilities are most accessible for public use.

Further, the city government has provided risograph machines to Mabalacat City College and the Department of Education Mabalacat Schools Division. “We have received many testimonials not only from the students but from the parents as well, saying that the machines are really helpful with the printing and production of modules,” the Information Officer stated. He mentioned that the initiative of Mayor Crisostomo Garbo to distribute laptops to the teachers in 2017 also helped them prepare for the new learning setting.

Funds for education were appropriated to the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan to ensure that learning progresses even amidst natural calamities, disasters, and pandemics.

Other local government units around the Philippines are providing equipment to students to make the transition to online classes smoother. For example, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) announced that it launched its Free Wifi for All Programme (FWAP) in state-universities located in Baguio City.

In January, OpenGov Asia had reported that the department installed free Wi-Fi hubs at the University of the Philippines Baguio (UPB) and the Benguet State University (BSU), two of the biggest state universities in the whole Cordillera region. The department is amplifying efforts to increase the number of free Internet hubs in other public areas and state-owned education facilities and universities.

DICT plans to put up more Wi-Fi hubs at the Bokod and Buguias Campuses of BSU, not just to expand the coverage of its programme but to assist in the online learning systems to be implemented by the University.

More recently, the Department of Education (DepEd) received around 2,000 smart tablets from Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian during a turnover ceremony in Malacanang. The tablets are expected to assist Filipino students and support the blended distance learning system in the country. The devices will help students to overcome difficulties and get better access to distance learning resources amid the pandemic.  As per a statement, the tablets will be distributed to schools located in geographically isolated, disadvantaged, and conflict-affected areas.

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