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Philippines’ Railways Institute launches online learning platform

Image credits: www.gov.ph

The Philippines Railways Institute (PRI) will undergo digital transformation to further adapt to the demands of the new normal brought by COVID-19. The PRI is a rail transportation research and training centre that deals with research and development on the management, operation, and maintenance of railways and training of personnel in the rail transportation industry in the country.

In a statement, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) undersecretary and the PRI officer-in-charge, stressed that the PRI is now able to provide remote learning sustainably during this pandemic. She said that the agency is now part of a growing number of institutes and organisations that have adopted this kind of learning platform in the country.

Existing railway personnel and maintenance staff can now access self-paced training courses through an online learning platform launched by the PRI with the help of a PHP307-million grant from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

PRI’s learning management system (LMS) is an online learning platform that allows self-paced learning, while still encouraging the trainees’ participation through facilitated contact sessions. Further, the LMS gives PRI instructors and railway trainees an academic and scalable digital learning environment alongside the existing video platform being used by the Institute. It is also mobile-friendly, which allows trainees and instructors seamless access to learning materials anytime and anywhere.

The PRI has recently conducted the first LMS-delivered refresher training course, with 30 railway personnel and 15 graduating college students as participants. The PRI noted that the pandemic disruption has accelerated technological trends in the fields of learning and education. Instructional methodologies are evolving with the adoption of innovations to address limitations set by health and safety protocols to prevent the further spread of the virus.

Before the strict community quarantine was imposed due to the pandemic, the PRI was conducting the Refresher Training Course (RT) face-to-face with a total of six batches of trainees completing the course. Since then, the learning institute shifted to the Web Refresher Training Course (WRT), an online course conducted through the Zoom platform, with 15 batches completing it.

The PRI also expanded the scope of its WRT to include graduating college students with a railways-relevant background and returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) with railway operation and maintenance experience.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, the country’s “Full Digital Transformation Act of 2020” mandates all government agencies, government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), instrumentalities and Local Government Units (LGUs) to adopt a digital plan that aligns with the Philippine Digital Transformation Strategy 2022.

The bill of full digitalisation of government services promotes a zero-contact policy and facilitates ease of procedures. All of this is meant to streamline government services under Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018, Republic Act No. 11234, the Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop Act and other applicable laws.

The Government reiterated that digitalisation is no longer just another trend, but it is the way the world is heading to, the rationale emphasised by lawmakers in the country. They added that full digitalisation is in the nation’s vision two years from now, and this transformation can be achieved through business and wireless networks, resulting in higher efficiency and lower costs.

At the same time, the rapid adoption of digital technologies can help the country overcome the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, recover from the crisis, and achieve its vision of becoming a middle-class society free of poverty, according to the report released by the World Bank and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

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