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Project REIINN Strengthens Philippine Distance Education

A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was recently signed between Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) and the Science and Technology Information Institute (STII) to assist remote education in disadvantaged and unserved communities. Both agencies were under the auspices of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

According to Franz de Leon, Director, DOST-ASTI, “By strengthening our relationship, we are taking another important step toward achieving our common aim of improving the state of infrastructure, education, resilience, and general quality of life in the country.”

The project known as Resilient Education Information Infrastructure for the New Normal (REIINN) focuses on creating infrastructures and application frameworks to enable the move to remote learning and reduce the nation’s digital divide. The project currently offers two programmes, LokaLTE and RuralCasting.

While RuralCasting creates computer systems that provide educational content to homes via digital TV channels, LokaLTE creates and implements community LTE Networks in rural locations. The collaboration illustrates the DOST’s dedication to using technology-based interventions to connect and provide information to geographically separated schools and communities.

STARBOOKS intends to offer science, technology, and innovation-based content in a variety of forms to children in rural and underserved regions across the nation. It includes millions of digitised science and technology resources in several formats, including text and video/audio, organised in specifically created “pods” with an easy-to-use interface.

Through the DOST’s ASTI and STII collaboration, STARBOOKS, according to Alan Taule, Project Leader, will be able to reach more people, notably students, and eventually, nobody will be left behind in the knowledge divide.

Due to the pandemic, the way education is delivered in the nation has undergone significant change. Teaching had to be done remotely using modular and digital platforms because both public and private schools had to be shuttered to safeguard the health of students and teachers.

To improve the use of blended learning in difficult-to-reach locations, the Department of Education (DepEd) has given several instructional resources to beneficiary schools, students, and staff. Over 8.5 million students have been enrolled by the department for the school year 2021–2022. To promote learning continuity, DepEd has used online and technologically based distance learning approaches such as using TV, radio, printed modules, and online/offline sites, among others.

The department has monitored and provided e-learning gadgets to school beneficiaries aiming to utilise and maximise the benefits of having digital technology to increase access to basic education for all students, particularly those who attend “Last-Mile Schools.”

In addition, many universities and colleges have also used flexible learning systems that were set up by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). In these kinds of systems, people think about how the learning environment changed during and after the pandemic.

Students could choose their own ways to learn, such as online which uses online classrooms to educate; offline, which uses digital media or printed modules to demonstrate; or blended, which uses both online and offline methods.

Furthermore, through online learning platforms, the Philippines has switched from traditional classroom instruction to online learning. The government has endorsed mobile learning as an effective means for students to continue their education.

Online learning systems have been able to thrive in the country, thus students have access to the available resources in a variety of settings, including blended learning and home education. Any of these modalities are integrated into blended learning to leverage their advantages and produce high-quality education.

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