By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Win Gatchalian vowed that he will seek to accelerate the installation of reliable internet connections in all the country’s public schools.
To achieve this, Gatchalian said he will pursue the enactment of the Satellite-Based Technologies for Internet Connectivity Act of 2021 (Senate Bill No. 2250). The proposed measure will expand access to satellite-based technologies as an alternative solution to ensure universal access to the internet.
Under Gatchalian’s measure, organizations from different sectors will be allowed to own and operate satellite-based technology in order to aid and augment their activities. These include 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.
Gatchalian also eyes filing a bill that will accelerate digital transformation in the basic education sector. This is to enhance the information and communications technology (ICT) capacity of the Department of Education (DepEd), digitally streamline and integrate its workflow and processes, and enhance its capacity to deliver quality education.
“Patuloy nating isusulong ang pagkakaroon ng internet sa bawat pampublikong paaralan. Titiyakin din nating handa ang ating mga guro at mga mag-aaral sa mas malawakang paggamit ng teknolohiya pagdating sa pag-aaral at pagtuturo,” Gatchalian said.
The re-electionist senator emphasized that developed and developing countries have relied on satellite-based internet technology to provide internet services, especially in areas where it is more expensive to roll out wired or mobile networks. To provide internet connectivity through satellite-based technology, an internet service provider (ISP) sends a fiber internet signal to a satellite in space. The satellite dish is connected to the modem of the user, which then connects the user to the Internet.
A paper from The Asia Foundation in 2019 pointed out that 74 percent of public schools remain unconnected to the internet. The 2019 National ICT Household Survey, meanwhile, reveals that 82.3 percent of households do not have access to the internet.
“Naniniwala akong kahit na matapos na ang pandemya, magiging bahagi na ng new normal ang blended learning, kaya naman dapat palawigin natin ang paggamit ng internet upang makapaghatid ng dekalidad na edukasyon,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture. (ai/mtvn)