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Sonntag, 29.01.2023
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Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has renewed his push for a bill seeking to accelerate the installation of free public internet connection in public schools nationwide.

Gatchalian filed Senate Bill No. 383 or the proposed Digital Transformation in Basic Education Act as Vice President and Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Sara Duterte bats for free internet in all public schools.

Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, noted that despite the enactment of the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act or Republic Act No. 10929, the Free Public Wi-Fi Dashboard revealed that only 860 or 1.8 percent of the country’s 47,421 public schools have free public Wi-Fi as of Sept. 2, 2022.

The senator pointed out the digital divide was made evident during the Covid-19 pandemic and greatly affected students in poorer households.

“Kung babalikan natin ang mga aral na natutunan natin nitong pandemya, makikita nating bahagi na ang teknolohiya sa pagpapatuloy ng edukasyon, lalo na sa gitna ng mga krisis (If we look back at the lessons we have learned from this pandemic, we will see that technology is part of continuing education, especially in the midst of crises),” Gatchalian pointed out.

“Bahagi ng ating pagpapatatag sa sektor ng edukasyon ang pagtiyak na bawat paaralan ay magkakaroon ng libreng internet para sa paghahatid ng dekalidad na edukasyon (Part of our efforts to stabilize the education sector is ensuring that every school will have free internet for the delivery of quality education,” he said.

Citing a 2021 survey by the World Bank on low-income households, the lawmaker pointed out only 40 percent have access to the internet.

The same survey, he said, also revealed that 95.5 percent of these low-income households used paper-based learning modules and materials.

Gatchalian said he is confident passage into law of the Digital Transformation in Basic Education Act will expedite the building of the national infrastructure for Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

The bill also mandates the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to identify locations for the construction of telecommunications tower sites and prioritize missionary areas which remain unconnected, unserved, or underserved.

Likewise, the measure seeks to enhance the capacity of all schools in the country to enhance and strengthen their ICT capacity to implement distance learning.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Hannah Torregoza 

Quelle/Source: Manila Bulletin, 25.12.2022

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