By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Following the recognition of “Valenzuela Live” as an
outstanding local governance program at this year’s Galing Pook
Awards, Senator Win Gatchalian reiterated the need to accelerate the
adoption of technology in the delivery of education.
Valenzuela Live or the Valenzuela LIVE Online Streaming School
utilizes Facebook Live to stream classes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Valenzuela City School of Mathematics and Science (ValMaSci)
serves as an off-site classroom, while information technology (IT)
moderators and technicians provide support to teachers.
The city government also distributed tablets to support learners who
don’t have devices to watch these videos.
To strengthen digital education in the basic education sector,
Gatchalian emphasized that recovery efforts should prioritize closing
the nationwide digital divide. He also pressed the need for teacher
education and training to ensure readiness for online learning.
To help foster universal access to the internet, Gatchalian filed
Senate Bill No. 2250 or the Satellite-Based Technologies for Internet
Connectivity Act of 2021.
The proposed measure seeks to allow government organizations, public
and non-profit private institutions, and volunteer organizations
engaged in education, health, finance, agriculture, environmental
management, climate change management, disaster preparedness and
crisis response to own and operate satellite-based technology to aid
and augment their activities.
The 2019 National ICT Household Survey reveals that 82.3% of
households do not have access to the internet. A report from The Asia
Foundation pointed out that 74 percent of public schools in the
Philippines remain unconnected to the internet.
“Nakita natin ngayong panahon ng pandemya na ang teknolohiya ay dapat
maging bahagi na ng ating sistema ng edukasyon. Kaya naman sa ating
pagtaguyod sa pagbangon ng sektor ng edukasyon, ating tiyakin na bawat
mag-aaral at guro ay may access na sa internet upang magamit sa
kanilang pagtuturo at pag-aaral,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the
Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.
Gatchalian also bats for learners’ free access to the Department of
Education’s (DepEd) learning platforms. Under Senate Bill No. 2355 or
the Academic Recovery and Accessible Learning (ARAL) Program Act,
which Gatchalian filed to establish a national learning intervention
program, Public Telecommunication Entities (PTEs) will be mandated to
provide free access to all of DepEd’s learning platforms, including
online educational platforms, digital libraries, and other online
knowledge hubs without any additional financial burden to learners,
teachers, para-teachers, and volunteer tutors. (ai/mtvn)