By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Joel Villanueva said the government should also pour funds to state universities and colleges (SUCs) and technology-training centers to enable these institutions to adjust to new learning methods amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Villanueva, who chairs the Senate Committee on Higher, Technical, and Vocational Education, said this is necessary in order to help the country’s labor force prepare for the “new normal.”
“Our SUCs and state technology training centers must also be provided with funds to allow them to shift to blended learning,” Villanueva said in a text message.
“The funding should also help HEIs (higher education institutions) procure the necessary ICT (information and communications technology) infrastructure, and provide training for faculty members and trainers alike in using learning management systems,” he said.
Since not all students have access to the Internet and even laptops and related equipment, Villanueva said it would be morally wrong to mandate every learner to shift to online learning.
“We all agree, however, that learning must continue, and our government should be able to bridge gaps between students, faculty, and HEIs,” he said.
During the deliberations on the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or ‘Bayanihan 2’ in the Senate, Villanueva recalled senators proposed that the government make available a credit facility for parents and faculty to be able to take out loans at no interest to be able to purchase necessary equipment such as laptops.
Villanueva said the Senate still remains committed to this proposal.
“Just as how we should invest heavily on our workers as we prepare our labor force into the new normal, our government should, likewise, do the same for our education sector,” the former chief of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) said.