Connectivity and accessibility will soon become a reality in public schools as the Department of Education (DepEd) continues to strengthen its efforts to innovate the delivery of education nationwide.
DepEd, in a statement issued Monday, April 19, confirmed the signing of a tripartite Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) between the agency, the Converge ICT Solutions Inc. and Pacific Kable Net.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, last week, led the virtual signing with the telecommunication firm and its affiliate cable company that will pave the way for the use of their fiber connectivity and cable channels at “no cost” to the DepEd to ensure the delivery of digital learning materials to learners.
“This memorandum that we are signing this afternoon gives us some degree of hope that it is possible for us to connect with each other, that it just might be possible for the Secretary of Education to enter, to talk with the principal or superintendent, or pupil in any classroom, in any school, in any part of the Philippines with the use of technology,” Briones said.
“It is good to know that we have partners from the private sector who are willing to help us out because we will be the first to admit that we need all the help that is made available to us, especially considering the number of learners that we have at this time,” she added.
Meanwhile, DepEd Undersecretary Alain Del Pascua shared that this deal will make all of DepEd’s learning platforms such as DepEd Commons, DepEd TV, DepEd Learning Management System, and Learning Resources Portal (LR Portal) available for disadvantaged and marginalized communities.
“As we make our partnership official, connectivity and accessibility will no longer become challenges but will now become realities, connecting the disconnected, and ensuring that no Filipino learner will be left behind,” Pascua added.
For Converge CEO and Founder Dennis Anthony Uy, the partnership reflects the company’s commitment “to bridge the glaring digital divide” in education in the country which the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic revealed.
Converge, Uy added, is also pleased to be in partnership with DepEd “in making online education more accessible to learners struggling to adapt to the blended learning model due to lack of resources.”
Pacific Kabelnet, on the other hand, was thrilled to deliver the education programs of DepEd through its cable channels. “This is also our way of using television to support the blended learning approach for our public school students amid this pandemic,” said President Leo San Miguel.
The MOA aims to support DepEd’s Public Education Network (PEN) and promulgate DepEd TV and DepEd Commons to continue supplementing the learners’ self-learning modules (SLMs).
Following the directive of President Duterte, the agreement will also push forward the Public Education Network (PEN) that intends to provide all DepEd offices and public schools, especially those in far-flung areas, with accessibility and connectivity.
Pascua noted that aside from providing access to the DepEd’s online learning resources, the PEN will also allow DepEd Offices nationwide to access platforms in aid of governance such as the DepEd Enterprise Resource Planning System (DERPS), the Learner Information System (LIS), the DepEd Mobile App, and other partner platforms.