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DICT distributes learning devices under digital education initiative

Image credit: Department of Information and Communications Technology

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will be providing tablets, laptops, and units of pocket Wi-Fi to students in the city of San Juan for online learning for the upcoming school year.

The initiative called the Digital Teachers and Digital Learners Project is part of the DICT’s Digital Education Program, which aims to facilitate digital transformation in the education sector and help address challenges in the delivery of basic education in the K-6 during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a press release, the project also targets to help the Department of Education (DepEd) in designing Alternative Delivery Modes (ADMs) as part of the blended learning approach. The tablets will be distributed to all student residents of San Juan City who are enrolled in the city’s public elementary and high schools, except for grades three to six students of the Pinaglabanan Elementary School, who will be given free laptops and pocket Wi-Fi.

All devices are pre-loaded with DICT and DepEd-developed teaching and learning digital content. Quick links to the DepEd teaching and learning portals (DepEd Commons, LRMDS), among others, will also be installed in all devices.

The DICT Secretary, Gregorio B. Honasan II explained that the department chose San Juan as the first recipient of the initiative because San Juan has a plan to improve the lives of its citizens and the level of education for the country’s future leaders.

According to Secretary Honasan, Pinaglabanan Elementary School will be the pilot school and serve as a showcase for the Digital Teachers and Digital Learners Project. San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora said the learning gadgets will help public school students continue their education amid the disruption in the education system brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He noted that the gadgets are a big help since face-to-face learning is currently suspended and online learning is the alternative method of education at present. DICT and the city of San Juan had initially signed a partnership in September 2019 for the deployment of free Wi-Fi sites in public places within the city through DICT’s Free Wi-Fi for All Program. Currently, there are 36 locations in San Juan installed with Free Wi-Fi.

Recently, DICT and the local government unit (LGU) of Zambales announced a plan to provide internet connectivity in the province through the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MoA). OpenGov Asia reported that under the MoA, the province will receive the continuous deployment of free public Wi-Fi through DICT’s Free Wi-Fi for All Program and establish the Zambales Provincial Broadband Network.

The ceremonial signing took place during the launching of 64 free Wi-Fi live sites in 16 locations in Zambales on 29 September. The fee Wi-Fi sites were the result of the cooperation between DICT and the Province of Zambales, formalised through a previous MoA signed in January. These sites have been accessible to the public since August this year. At present, government offices, hospitals, state universities, and local colleges, among others, benefit from existing free Wi-Fi sites in the province. These include the President Ramon Magsaysay State University and the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy. It is expected that with the new MOA, more public institutions will be provided with free internet.

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