Teachers, students, parents told not to sell gadgets provided by Manila city gov't

Teachers and students, as well as their parents, were told not to sell the gadgets and connectivity devices that the Manila city government lent them to equip them for the blended distant learning set-up. 

Division of City Schools (DCS)-Manila Superintendent Maria Magdalena Lim said the teachers and students have to return the devices in good working condition after they graduate, or when they switch schools or drop out from school, as these are still the property of the city government.

"Ang tablet ay parang pahiram lang para mapahiram sa mga bata sa distance learning ngayon, pagmamay-ari pa rin ng gobyerno (The tablets were only lent to the children to help them with the distance learning, they are still the property of the government)," she said on a live broadcast on Wednesday (Aug. 19).

She said the parents of students will be made to sign an affidavit of undertaking upon receipt of the tablets to ensure that they will be held accountable should the gadgets not be returned. 

They will be required to replace the gadgets if they lose or break it, Lim said. Students who will not be able to return the gadgets or replace it with a new one will not be allowed to receive their card and Form 137, that are needed to enroll for the next grade level.

However, if the gadgets were stolen or were damaged during natural calamities, such as typhoons and earthquakes, the students and teachers will need to provide proof.

The DCS superintendent also said the gadgets to be distributed were formatted so that they can only be used for educational purposes. Games and other non-educational applications cannot be downloaded on the tablets.

The Manila city government allotted a budget of over P1 billion to buy 11,000 laptops with pocket WiFis for teachers, and 136,950 tablets and 286,000 SIM cards with 10 GB monthly allotment of bandwidth for students.

Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso said these gadgets will be distributed starting Monday (Aug. 24), ahead of the opening of academic year 2020-2021 on Oct. 5.

Ready for school

Lim said DCS-Manila was ready for the opening of classes even before it was reset. Earlier, the Department of Education (DepEd) scheduled the opening of the academic year on Aug. 24.

Although she admitted that some of her staff experienced "dampened enthusiasm" after the announcement, they realized that rescheduling the opening of classes is good because it will give them more time to prepare.

Since June, DCS Manila has been training teachers for blended learning by helping them navigate platforms such as Messenger and Google, where their classrooms will be.

The teachers also underwent stress management training to ensure their psychosocial readiness amid the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) crisis and new learning set-up.

Integrating technology in education has always been the plan of the Manila city government, Lim said. However, they were expecting to implement these programs after at least three years. 

"Dahil dito sa pandemya, na-accelerate siya, at napatunayan natin na kaya palang gawin in a very short time because of the situation na calls for a very radical solution like this. Natugunan naman (Because of the pandemic, it was accelerated, and we were able to prove that we can do it in a very short time because of the situation that calls for a very radical solution like this. We were able to respond to it)," she said. 

The DCS superintendent also assured parents that they will assist them through training and orientations to be familiarized with the new learning set-up.

"Lahat po ng suporta na pwede naming maibigay sa magulang ay ibibigay namin (We will give all the support that we can to the parents)," she said.