DAVAO CITY –An official of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Sarangani is pushing for the adoption of electronic learning modality for learners, saying that it will be more cheaper than the modular modality.
This developed as DepEd-Sarangani will be implementing an electronic learning modality ins some of its serviced communities under the “Learning Resources on Wifi Hub for Expanded e-Learning in Sarangani”, or LR on WHEeLS.
The LR on WHEels project, which was launched last July, aims to expand the reach of e-learning to far-flung villages, particularly those outside of the service coverage of major telecommunications companies and internet service providers.
Unlike the internet access, LR on WHEeLS WiFi will not give the learners access to social media sites, but only to the LR on WHEels modules.
Dr. Donna Panes, chief of the Curriculum Implementation Division, told The Manila Bulletin that, based on their study, the use of gadgets would still be cheaper in the long run compared to printed modules.
Under the modular modality, Panes cited that DepEd-Sarangani, alone, spends P10, 240 for every learner for the entire school year.
“There are smartphones or tablets now available in the market that costs from P2,500 or P5,000,”she pointed out.
Based on the study of Deped-Saragani in one of its schools in Tagaytay Integrated School in Alabel town, the division will spend P2,897,920 for the modular modality for its 283 learners.
Panes said a single module contains 32 pages. “Multiply it to eight subjects and that’s only good for one week. And right now we are running out bond papers already.”
But if the government will provide each learner with tablets and an intranet kit, it will only cost P899,000.
This means that the government will only spend P3,000 per learner for the entire school year. While an intranet kit, which is composed of wifi antenna, solar panel, cables and a pole.
This complete set would cost around P50,000.00 and could serve up to 700 simultaneous users, and has a range of up to 500-m radius, the DepEd Saragani briefer read.
“It’s paper less, less trash and more convenient to the teachers as well as to the learners,” Panes emphasized.
However, she clarified that not all of the 320 schools under the division are qualified for the LR on WHEels project.
The DepEd official said LR on WHEels will only serve 190 schools and 139 of these will be receiving intranet kits. These schools are serving the indigenous peoples communities in the hinterland areas of the province.
However, the school officials admitted that not all of the students are equipped with gadgets to be able to access the modules stored in the intranet servers.
Due to topographic locations, only 66,666 learners could be catered to in the LR on WHEeLS across the towns of Alabel, Glan, Kiamba, Maaisam, Maitum, Malapatan and Malungon in Sarangani province.
The DepEd official pointed out that they prioritized the far-flung communities because it is impractical to transport printed modules.
These areas are only reachable by foot or riding horses, Panes added.
However, she admitted that many of the learners are still in need of gadgets.
Based on their audit, Panes bared that of the 66,666 learners, only 24,835 have gadgets.
She bared that the Conrado and Ladislawa Alcantara Foundation Inc. (CLAFI) has initially donated 50 tablets and another 50 Smart Communications.
“We are looking for more donors to provide gadgets for the remaining learners in the indigenous peoples communities,” she appealed.
While waiting for the gadgets, the learners will adopt broadcast and modular modality, Panes said.
Based on the Learner Connectivity Inventory of the DepEd Sarangani Division, Panes said there are 134,120 enrollees from kindergarten to senior high school in public schools for school year 2020 to 2021.
While there are 4,759 enrollees in private schools for the same school year.