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Digital Tools and Enhanced Network Connectivity for Philippine Rural Areas

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) continues the rollout of its Cybersafe Learning Project with the donation of 50 laptops to the Provincial Government of Northern Samar. DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said, “connectivity is particularly crucial because we have to enhance our level of understanding of the importance of ICT-driven growth.”

Northern Samar Governor Edwin Ongchuan received the learning tools after Secretary Honasan led the virtual turnover ceremony. “As we are the 20th underprivileged province in the Philippines, Northern Samar lacks adequate connectivity. Our students, particularly in colleges, have trouble communicating. This is exactly what we need to help our students.

This initiative is going to be a long-term collaboration since we intend to future-proof all our programs for sustainability.

– Gregorio B. Honasan II, DICT Secretary

The collaboration intends to equip the province with the appropriate ICT tools to help enhance government information accessibility, democratise public services, and support the educational sector in the new normal. Secretary Honasan stressed the importance of ICT, particularly connectivity and online learning tools, in the supply of basic requirements such as educational services during the virtual debate.

“Through our initiatives, we hope to reach more communities, especially those located in remote and far-flung areas, to establish a more inclusive landscape for online and blending learning,” Secretary Honasan stated.

Last August, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) explained that the laptops and gadgets were purchased as part of its Digital Education Program (DEP), which aims to help its partner Local Government Units (LGUs) facilitate ICT-enabled education, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. The DICT announced in a news release that the devices, which were given to student beneficiaries by the LGUs, improve the delivery of services to the education sector, which is a mandate that DICT fulfils.

Apart from formulating and implementing national policies, plans, programmes, and guidelines with government agencies and instrumentalities to promote and develop the use of ICT in education, DICT is also required to share its resources, increase government ICT capacity, and improve public internet access.  He went on to say that resources and ICT-enabled interventions are critical for continuous learning, especially for impoverished pupils and learners who lack access to learning tools.

Overall, the projects will help the government achieve its primary goal of containing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, as more agencies and local governments rely on the DICT’s technological skills and functions to meet the growing demand for digitization and interconnection in this new normal.

OpenGov Asia reported, the Philippines’ Department of Education (DepEd) announced that the agency is currently harnessing different technology-based projects as part of education’s new normal that is caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking during the first Asia Pacific Public Sector Digital Summit, the agency’s undersecretary underscored the government’s initiatives to ensure learning continuity amid the pandemic, including DepEd TV, DepEd Commons, and DepEd Radio. If there are no face-to-face classes, then the education department must devise all means to reach out to learners and to bring basic education to them, said the agency.

The DepEd intends to master distance learning, making all the necessary improvements and perfecting its processes for the DepEd Commons, DepEd TV, DepEd Radio, the DepEd Learning Management System, the DepEd Mobile App, and others, the agency added.

Meanwhile, in terms of re-imagining education in the new normal, the DepEd shared that they are advocates for the continuation of online and broadcast learning platforms post-pandemic since classroom shortage remains an issue in the country. With that kind of interface, the country’s education curriculum can adapt to the needs of the entire nation and even the world. Then, basic education becomes relevant and liberating for it serves what the nation needs and what the world needs.


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