DICT to provide teachers with ICT trainings

Maris Federez   •   May 23, 2020   •   376

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is set to conduct online seminars or ‘webinars’ to teachers under the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

The program is aimed at preparing teachers to adapt to alternative learning systems under the ‘new normal’.

In a press release issued on Saturday, the DICT said it has directed its ICT Literacy and Competency Development Bureau (ILCDB), Cybersecurity Bureau, and Regional offices to be the line agencies that will “formulate and facilitate the conduct of webinars aimed at capacitating and upskilling the ICT competencies of teachers, administrators, educators, and students in different public and private educational institutions and state universities and colleges (SUCs).”

The department is confident that these capacity building activities will better arm the teachers  “for the potential use of available ICT enabled education services, such as online learning management systems, video conferencing platforms, and online educational resources, with due regard to raising awareness on safe cybersecurity and privacy practices.”

This project is in line with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF-MEID) Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines which directs schools to decide on the specific learning delivery modes, such as blended and online learning that they will use to contain the spread of COVID-19 during the schoolyear.

“ICT has become crucial for retaining a sense of continuity for our society, especially in the education sector. DICT is here to help upskill the ICT capacity of our teachers in order for them to utilize the full potential of ICT in providing quality education to their students given the disruptions in holding face-to-face classes,” Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said.

The DICT initially offered free online technical and digital trainings to concerned personnel and professionals in the government and private sectors.

“We will continue to work towards providing digital literacy and capacity to different sectors in order for our nation to better adapt to the new normal. All of these initiatives is in support of the administration’s efforts through the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases in mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 crisis,” Secretary Honasan said. — /mbmf

CHED sees colleges closing due to low enrollees

Maris Federez   •   July 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Several colleges are now on the verge of closing due to the very low number of enrollees for the coming school year, according to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

In the press briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte, CHED Chairman Prospero De Vera reported the problem that these college institutions and local governments are facing for the coming school year.

Humihingi po ng guidance yung mga private schools in particular tsaka local governments kasi hindi po nila alam ang gagawin lalo na sa mga area na wala po talagang internet connection [The private schools, in particular, and the local governments are asking for guidance as they do not know what to do, especially in areas where there is no internet connection],” Chairman de Vera said.

Meron na pong ilang eskwelahan ang nagsabi sa CHED na magsasara sila dahil yung enrollment po ay talagang mababa. Natatakot po yung mga magulang at mga estudyante [Several schools already told CHED that they are closing because their enrollment is really low],” he added.

De Vera also admitted that they do not have a ready guideline for these learning institutes that are closing as this is just the first time that the commission has experienced a pandemic.

De Vera, however, reported the commission’s plan to offer the subjects that need personal appearance, such as laboratories, on the job trainings, and internships in January or the second semester of the school year.

Lectures that may be done online, on the other hand, will be offered in the first semester.

“The options will be from the more open limited face to face in low-risk MGCQ areas to the most conservative. Do it sa (in the) second semester,” de Vera said.

Meanwhile, the National Action Plan Against COVID-19 will conduct an inspection in areas that are now under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) for possible limited face-to-face classes.

NTF Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr said they will look into the compliance of schools on the set health protocols.

Galvez said playgrounds will be closed, and buffet setup will not be allowed in school canteen and cafeterias as these areas are believed to be where viruses, such as COVID-19 breed and easily spread.

They will also check on the provision of separate entry and exit points of schools, as well as, a possible limit of 10 students per classroom set-up, in case face to face classes will be allowed.

Yan po ang recommendation ko, Mr.President. If we will really decide na magkaroon tayo ng 10 per classroom, tingnan po natin po yung mga strategies natin na magkakaroon po o makikita natin na mga 96% walang transmission or even 100% na ma-ensure natin na magkakaroon po tayo ng redundant preventive measures para hindi po tayo magkaroon ng transmission,” Galvez said.

[That is my recommendation, Mr. President. If we will decide to have 10 per classroom, let’s look at our strategies to come up with 96% no transmission, r\or even 100%. That we can ensure that we will have redundant preventive measures so that we will no have transmission.]

Secretary Galvez also proposed to the President to have private school students who stay in dormitories to undergo swab testing to check if they are COVID-free or not.—(from the report of Joan Nano) /mbmf

DICT seeks P46.6-B 2021 budget for PH digital transformation

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 14, 2020

The Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) is seeking the approval of its P46.6 billion budget for 2021.

In a statement, DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II said the budget will be for the effective implementation of the department’s strategic programs towards digital transformation in the new normal.

Several of DICT’s project include, the Digital Connectivity and Access programs, particularly the National Broadband Program (NBP), the Free WiFi for All in Public Places and State Universities and Colleges Program, and the Government Emergency Communications System.

“Digital connectivity and access is the foundation of digital transformation. It is only with secure and reliable Internet connectivity for every Filipino can we implement programs and initiatives towards digitalization in various sectors of our society,” Honasan said.

The proposed budget for FY 2021 is significantly much higher than its current budget for FY 2020 which amounts only to around 6 Billion Pesos.

“The call for digital transformation has never been more urgent. We need all the resources to fast track the country’s digital transformation for us to better adapt to the new normal brought by the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to Honasan. –AAC

Poe urges DICT, telcos to submit plans for improving internet service

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 9, 2020

Senator Grace Poe is urging the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) and telecommunication companies (Telcos) to submit by July 13 their plan on improving internet service in the country.

Poe wants to determine how many more towers telcos plan to build in the coming years to give the Filipinos better online experience especially with the high demand for better internet service due to effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Agencies and telcos need a nudge to act as fast as they can to bring the internet to everyone’s homes,” she said.

A boost in connectivity would also help students and teachers with online learning, Poe added. It is also crucial for businesses that operate through online transactions.

“Nararanasan nating lahat ang mababang kalidad ng ating connection, kaya importante talaga na ang mga telco ay mag-deliver sa kanilang pangako na magpatayo ng mas maraming cell site (We have all experienced poor internet connection that is why it is important for telcos to deliver on their promise to build more cell sites),” she said. AAC

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