Less than three weeks into school opening, the Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday once again reminded teachers, parents, and students they do not need to buy gadgets including laptops and personal computers.
DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain Pascua maintained that despite the shift towards alternative learning delivery modalities this School Year (SY) 2020-2021 due to the COVID-19 situation in the country, “we have options available for everyone.”
“This new school year is not only for those who have laptops or cellphones,” he stressed.
While they are not requiring teachers, parents and students to buy gadgets, DepEd recognizes the importance of having the right equipment for the task at hand.
Pascua said the DepEd is “striving to immediately” provide public school teachers with laptops among other equipment they need for the new learning modalities.
He noted that as early as April, the Office of Undersecretary for Administration (OUA) – has already released a memorandum allowing school heads to release or lend equipment to its teachers.
The OUA Memo 00-0420-0029 provided guidelines enabling public school teachers to borrow Information Technology (IT) equipment such as desktop computers, laptops, tablet PCs, and smartphones from their schools for use during the pandemic and in preparation for SY 2020-2021.
Similarly, Pascua said that a set of guidelines was also prescribed for select learners who wish to borrow equipment from the school through OUA Memo 00-0720-0063, subject to the approval of the school head.
Pascua said the Learner Enrollment and Survey Form (LESF) will be the primary basis for identifying learners who may borrow such devices, with priority given for learners with disabilities.
Under the Digital Rise Program, Pascua added the DepEd is moving towards providing all schools with the appropriate IT equipment, including laptops for all public school teachers.
“We are now trying to fast track our Digital Rise Program, in line with the President’s direction to move towards online and digital learning,” he added.
In the past few weeks, teachers groups such as the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) have been urging DepEd to address teachers’ concerns especially on the assistance they need as the country’s education system shifts into blended/distance learning.
ACT has been asking DepEd to provide a P1,500 per month internet allowance for teachers and laptop provision for the same to enable a work-from-home arrangement amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
TDC also pointed out that many teachers admit they still need to learn how to cope with the New Normal and count the lack of materials like laptop computers among the challenges they face this school year.