Pasig plans to buy learning gadgets for students

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 26) — Pasig City is looking for funds to purchase personal learning gadgets for students as the reopening of classes remains in limbo due to the COVID-19 crisis, Mayor Vico Sotto said on Tuesday.

Following President Rodrigo Duterte's pronouncement opposing the opening of classes in August, Sotto said the local government of Pasig is continuously working with the Department of Education on how it can assist students.

He said whether face-to-face classes resume in August or virtual classes will be the new norm, "we are identifying funds for personal devices for students."

The neophyte mayor added Pasig is also working to improve its internet connection at the barangay level to ensure virtual classes will go smoothly.

Private schools are also appealing to the government to provide means for students to adjust to new modes of learning.

"A lot of students based on their economic background would not be able to absorb the costs of moving towards this technology-based or technology-enhanced delivery of education," Atty. Joseph Noel Estrada of the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations told CNN Philippines' News Night. "This is why we think that the government should come in and provide the needed economic and policy intervention,"

Private institutions are looking at conducting video conferences and sending learning materials to the students to study "at their own time" to continue education, Estrada said.

"We are thinking of asking the government for help for us to do this because definitely the private sector will not be able to absorb the entire 27 million learners into the private education system," he added.

The Department of Education announced last April 30 that the next school year will officially open on August 24 and end on April 30, 2021. Education Secretary Leonor Briones said the resumption of classes does not require full physical attendance of students, stressing that online learning is still a viable option.

Duterte on Monday said he does not favor the reopening of schools until there is an available vaccine against the coronavirus disease.

Some lawmakers have also pushed for the postponement of class openings until and unless a vaccine against COVID-19 is developed.