The Manila city government on Wednesday began its distribution of over P1-billion worth of gadgets and connectivity devices to public school students and teachers in preparation for the new blended distant learning setup.
Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso, along with other government officials, turned over 136,950 tablets; 11,000 laptops; 11,000 pocket WiFi; and 286,000 SIM cards with a monthly allotment of 10 GB bandwidth to the different stakeholders and representatives.
They will then distribute them to around 296,000 public school students and 11,000 teachers before the opening of the Academic Year 2020-2021 on October 5, Department of Education said.
Manila Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan said they aim to lessen the burden of parents, students, and teachers in spending money for gadgets for the new learning setup, as face-to-face learning is still discouraged amid the COVID-19 crisis.
"Ang ating pamahalaang lungsod ay patuloy na nagsisikap na makahanap ng mga kaparaanan upang matugunan ang mga payak na pangangailangan ng mga magaaral at guro (Our city government will continue to persevere to find ways on how to respond to the simple needs of the students and teachers)," she said in her speech.
"Hangarin natin na ang bawat batang Maynila ay makapagpatuloy at makapagtapos sa kanilang pagaaral (We want each child from Manila to continue and finish their studies)," she added. "Nais nating bawat isa sa kanila ay aming maalalayan (We want to help each one of them)."
Domagoso encouraged public school teachers to use their new gadgets to work hard in molding students into productive members of society.
"The next job is the hardest job, which is in the part of the teachers," he said in his speech.
"It's going to be a challenging days ahead," he added. "I wish you all the best. I believe in you. You didn't become professionals for nothing. I know, naturally in a short period of time, teachers of Manila can immediately adapt to the new blended distant learning."
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, who attended the event virtually, commended Domagoso for cooperating with the national government in implementing the blended distant learning setup in the capital city.
"I look forward to heightened interest, and I look forward to very high level of quality of education in the city of Manila. This is the site of many educational institutions and perhaps one of the most intense concentrations of learners in the country," she said.
As of July 21, the country's capital leads other cities in Metro Manila in terms of the highest number of public school enrollees at 289,781 students. The city's initial target of public school enrollees was at 268,972.
Briones said the provision of gadgets to students and teachers in Manila served as a reminder that the government, both local and national, is always ready to help them to ensure the continuing of education.
The education secretary also said that they have always planned to integrate technology in education, and their plans were only accelerated because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Hindi talaga maiiwasan ang ating kinabukasan, ang ating pag-transmit ng education ay nakasalalay sa technology dahil 'yan ang tawag ng panahon (We cannot avoid our future, that the way to transmit education is dependent on technology, because the situation calls for it), with or without COVID," she said.