By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
In line with its efforts to help uplift the state of the country’s educational system, Globe Telecom turned over to the Department of Education (DepEd) its Global Filipino Schools (GFS) program.
GFS was designed to forward 21st-century learning principles and information and communications technology (ICT) integration in public schools nationwide. By carrying out the management of GFS, DepEd would be able to monitor closely how technology improves teaching and learning for possible replication in other public schools not covered by the program.
For DepEd Undersecretary for Legislative Affairs, External Partnerships, and Project Management Service Tonisito M.C. Umali, Esq. nation-building starts in the classroom. “So we want to make sure that we equip our future leaders with 21st-century skills and knowledge,” he said.
Umali added that the initiatives like GFS – which introduce new ways of educating the Filipino youth— are “very important” in helping the country keep pace with the rest of the world. “We are looking forward to having more public schools adopt technology through internet connectivity and mobile tech solutions that GFS provides,” he added.
Meanwhile, Globe Chief Sustainability Officer and SVP for Corporate Communications Yoly Crisanto explained that technology and innovation are major drivers of progress. “We recognize their importance in improving performance and facilitating learning of students and teachers,” she said.
Crisanto added with GFS now under DepEd, “we hope to open doors for more public schools to experience an education that is not limited to the four corners of the classroom and not bound by physical textbooks or paper and pen so that borderless learning can take place.”
Despite the turn over, Crisanto assured that Globe “will continue to support the use of technology in public schools through sharing with DepEd updates on educational innovations and by providing the necessary technology tools and solutions needed by teachers and students.”
The GFS, which was launched in 2012, is part of a long-term partnership between Globe and DepEd with support from the private sector and non-government organizations led by Ayala Foundation, Inc. The GFS is now being implemented in 218 partner schools in 202 DepEd divisions across 17 Philippine regions, benefitting 331,241 students and 11,666 teachers – ahead of its 2020 target.
Globe explained that the GFS program provides schools with free internet connectivity as well as ICT tools like tablets, projectors, virtual reality (VR) goggles, casting dongles, Home Prepaid WiFi modems, and mobile phones.
The partner schools of GFS also receive an intensive teacher training program on 21st-century learning approach, ICT integration in classrooms as well as workshop modules on responsible digital citizenship. Each of the schools, likewise, serves as a teacher training hub in the DepEd division they belong to.
In 2015, a study was released by Taylor Nelson Sofres which showed the GFS program “helped improve digital skills among teachers and students” – specifically on using mobile technology and computer software.
To assess its success upon its implementation, the study also showed that the GFS program enabled 21st-century learning outcomes that involve creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking; increased student engagement in classroom activities; as well as helped enhance school culture through readiness in ICT integration.