PLDT Inc. (PLDT) and Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) have banded together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in expanding the reach of the AFP’s first ever mobile e-learning hub through a donation of a School-in-a-Bag (SIAB), which will bring inclusive quality education in hard-to-reach communities.

“Together with the dedicated men and women of AFP, we are on a mission to bridge the educational gap and empower underserved communities through the SIAB and the AFP’s mobile e-learning hub. Inspired by our shared mission of making sure that no learner is left behind, we help shape futures and build a stronger nation—one bag, one community at a time,” said Stephanie Orlino, assistant vice president and head of Stakeholder Management at PLDT and Smart.

Set to reach the farthest corners of Visayas, AFP’s mobile e-learning hub aims to promote information and communications technology-related skills training, online education, government services, as well employment opportunities and upskilling programs to empower more people, especially in marginalized communities.

Meanwhile, PLDT and Smart’s Siab works as a portable digital classroom designed to facilitate basic education, especially in off-grid areas. Each package contains a laptop, tablets preloaded with Smart’s #LearnSmart applications that make use of the learners’ mother tongue, and other learning contents including United States Agency for International Development’s All Children’s Reading E-resource.

The kit also includes a Smart LTE pocket Wi-Fi kit which teachers can use to go online and download other relevant educational materials.

“I thank everyone who has contributed in our noble efforts and has always believed in the power of education and technology. May we continue to embark on this journey empowered by the knowledge that through innovation and collaboration we can further uplift our beloved nation and pave the way for a brighter future,” said Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Z. Duterte, during the ceremonial launching of AFP’s E-Learning Hub.

Since its launch in 2016, Smart has deployed over 500 Siab packages across the country. To date, the program has reached more than 100,000 learners and has trained more than 4,000 teachers.

The School-in-a-Bag highlights PLDT and Smart’s steadfast contribution to inclusive quality education through Information and Communication Technology, content, pedagogy, and capacity building to ensure that there is #NoLearnerLeftBehind.

These efforts likewise underscore the PLDT group’s commitment in helping the Philippines achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals No. 4 on Inclusive Quality Education.