The Department of Education (DepEd) has cited various efforts supporting the implementation of distance learning this coming school year.
DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain del Pascua noted that the DepEd “has also taken steps to help support distance learning” — including online learning. “While 67 percent of the population already have their own devices at home (Hootsuite 2020), DepEd is making its devices available to help augment this figure,” he said.
Pascua added that telcos have also zero-rated the DepEd Commons — its online learning platform — so that the “teachers and learners can download self-learning modules and video lectures via mobile data for free.”
The content in the DepEd Commons, Pascua said, are designed to be downloadable and can be distributed using USBs without the need for a stable Internet connection.
Meanwhile, Pascua noted that students who “do not have access to devices can opt to use TV-based education which is accessible to 88 percent of the population (Kantar 2019).” He added that those who do not have access to these technologies can still make use of radio-based instruction (RBI) as well as print-based Self Learning Modules (SLMs).
Recognizing the need to strengthen its computerization program especially amid the pandemic, Pascua provided updates for the ongoing DepEd Computerization Program (DCP) which aims to provide gadgets to every school in the country.
Citing latest data, Pascua said that 1, 042, 575 devices have been given to 43, 948 public schools nationwide. Of this number, 740, 352 were delivered to schools in the past two years; 220, 209 in the past five years and 82, 014 which were delivered for more than five years.
While some devices are already out of warranty coverage, Pascua said that DepEd — under the current administration — has “downloaded funds that would allow schools to replace computer parts.”
Pascua also noted that the need to understand the “context” behind the DCP. Aside from distributing the devices or gadgets, he underscored the importance of ensuring that there are existing facilities or laboratories for these, power supply source, and Internet connectivity “which is currently the priority of administration.”