DepEd signs deal for free internet, cable in public schools

THE Department of Education (DepEd) sealed a partnership with Converge ICT Solutions Inc. and Pacific Kable Net as part of its efforts to innovate the delivery of education in the country.

DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones led the virtual signing of a tripartite memoranda of agreement (MOA) 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.

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 Rodrigo 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.

DepEd Undersecretary Alain Del Pascua, for his part, said that the 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.

Aside from providing access to the Department’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, Pascua added.

“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 said.

In his message, Converge Chief Executive Officer and Founder Dennis Anthony Uy noted that the company, together with local government partners, commits to bridge the glaring digital divide in education in the country, which the Covid-19 pandemic revealed, in order to help the Department reach its goal of providing quality education to Filipino learners.

“We at Converge are pleased to be in partnership with the Department of Education in making online education more accessible to learners struggling to adapt to the blended learning model due to lack of resources,” Uy said.

Meanwhile, Pacific Kabelnet President Leo San Miguel said, "Pacific Kabelnet is thrilled to deliver the education programs of DepEd through our cable channels. This is also our way of using television to support the blended learning approach for our public school students amid this pandemic."


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