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Developing Smart Universities: Connectivity Solutions for Students in the Philippines

With another school year about to begin during the pandemic, students and learning institutions will need access to a reliable internet connection for online education. Philippine university, BatStateU, inked an MoU with a major telecom corporation in the Philippines and its wireless branch.

In preparation for the return of in-person teaching, WiFi services will be rolled out across BatStateU’s eight campuses in Nasugbu, Alangilan, Lemery, Lipa, Rosario, Pablo Borbon, Malvar and Balayan by the fourth quarter of the year. The school administration is developing a blended learning strategy in which half of the classes will be held virtually and the other half face-to-face.

“In preparation for the return of our students to school, this free WiFi service is a significant addition to our existing bandwidth capacity. Not only that, but it also addresses the challenge of connecting the many different campuses of Batangas State University amid the New Normal,” said BatStateU president, who also authored the programme Building Research and Innovation Development Goals for Engineering SUCs (BRIDGES).

Reliable Internet connectivity not only benefits all our stakeholders but also further capacitates our efforts to connect the BatStateU community over the existing means that we have. It is our privilege to be your partner in promoting ‘Smart universities’ across the country.

– Luzon Rregional Head for Cconsumer Sales

Previously, BatStateU had collaborated with the telecommunications company through its Wireless Engineering Education Programme, an initiative that seeks to deliver industry-ready graduates and technopreneurs through a series of technology training, online courses and an annual student innovation competition.

According to a report published earlier this year, four out of every ten Filipino students lack either the technology or the device required for distance learning. The telecommunication company aims to avert such learning crises by investing in projects that narrow the digital divide and by partnering with learning institutions such as BatStateU to create a connected society on equal ground. The present situation demands the availability of strong and secure internet connectivity to accommodate alternative work arrangements and flexible learning.

Another partnership between Tagum’s local government unit and the telco company’s wireless arm service saw students provided with Pocket Wi-fi devices with load allocation for the city’s scholars.

OpenGov Asia reported that as per the executive director of DOST-PCIEERD, the global health crisis has compelled the Department of Education (DepEd) to implement emergency online education (EOE) and emergency remote education (ERE), which are crisis response terms for online or remote instruction during an emergency. Filipino educators taught students using a variety of learning delivery methods, including distance learning and blended learning, either in addition to or in place of face-to-face instruction.

Classes were held using video conferencing software. Furthermore, Self-Learning Modules (SLMs) were made available in print, offline, and online digital formats to assist learners, parents, and teachers in implementing these learning delivery modalities.

Such strategies have underscored the need to integrate emerging technologies into the education system to strengthen modes of instruction and keep students interested and engaged. Officials are optimistic that leveraging leading-edge technologies and platforms will help overcome the challenges in distance, the evolving needs for learning and the continuing threats posed by the pandemic.

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