By Liza Soriano
MANILA — Senator Win Gatchalian urged the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to ensure that internet connection is provided free in public schools.
“Our learners are the ones who will greatly benefit from this because it will improve the flow of information, especially for our poorest constituents,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian cited that five years after the enactment of the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act (Republic Act No. 10929), only 1.8 percent of public schools nationwide have access to free public Wi-Fi.
The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular the shift to distance learning, highlighted the country’s digital divide, according to the chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, who also highlighted the need for an accessible and dependable internet connection.
Only 40 percent of low-income households have internet access, according to a 2021 World Bank survey. 95.5 percent of these households used learning modules and materials that were printed out, according to the same survey.
About P2.5 billion was allotted for the implementation of Republic Act No. 10929 in the proposed national budget for 2023.