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The Philippines’ DepEd Reveals Tech-Based Plans

Image credits: www.gov.ph

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.

The education department’s undersecretary also hinted at a future DepEd project, which aims to update and pattern DepEd TV after streaming services to allow learners to study their learning materials at their own pace. Those who need more time and repetition can easily review and go back to all the lessons, while those who learn at a faster pace can access new lessons and other lessons outside of their grade levels, he said.

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.

The agency also announced the addition of an eLibrary in the DepEd Commons to expand its available English subject materials. The e-Library’s materials will be available on the DepEd Commons, the agency’s open educational resources (OER) platform to support the distance learning implementation.

The e-Library provides a repository of English classic titles, age-appropriate storybooks, e-Learning videos, and other resource materials that can be viewed online or downloaded for later use since students do not have access to traditional libraries now. DepEd wants to promote the love of reading among the youth so they may achieve their full potential. Reading helps strengthen the brain and build vocabulary and provides the needed mental exercise for a better understanding of the written word, especially a widely used foreign language like English.

DepEd Commons currently serves more than 10.5 million unique users nationwide with 4,762 uploaded learning resources. Access to the platform is free of data charge.

In addition, the agency stressed the importance of the Public Education Network (PEN), which will fast-track the digital connectivity of all public schools and DepEd offices nationwide. With this network, schools will become connectivity hubs for all the households around it so that educational content is made available to every learner in the community even without internet bandwidth. If this connectivity is reinforced by internet bandwidth availability, then it is a big leap forward.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, the Philippines’ Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the DepEd strengthened the partnership between the agencies to clear the path towards the digitalisation of the education sector with the establishment of the PEN.

Under the memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed between the two agencies, the DICT will provide medium to long-term assistance to DepEd, including the allocation of bandwidth from the DICT’s high-speed Internet infrastructure project, augmentation of DepED’s future satellite capacity through DICT’s existing very small aperture technology (VSAT) satellite and teleport facilities, the building of internet backbone up to last-mile schools under the DICT’s National Broadband Programme (NBP), and the provision of data transport service using DICT’s fibre optic network under the Government Network (GovNet) project and Microwave towers.

It is aligned with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive for both agencies to connect all schools, especially last-mile schools, and DepEd offices nationwide.

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