DepEd to release standards for computers, gadgets as students gear up for alternative learning

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(FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 10)— The Education Department said Wednesday it is set to roll out official standards for gadgets that will be used by students during online and “blended” learning programs this coming school year.

Speaking to CNN Philippines, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said parents may need to wait a little longer before buying computers or tablets for their children, as the agency is expected to release the guidelines for the gadgets within the week.

“We’ll put this into writing kasi ang dami-daming offers na ngayon, maraming nagpo-produce na ngayon ng mga tablets, mga gadgets para sa mga bata dahil nakikita nila na may market for this,” Briones said in an interview with The Source.

[Translation: We’ll put this into writing because there are a lot of offers now. There are a lot of companies who have producing tablets and gadgets for the kids because they see there is a market for this.]

Families have been flocking to computer stores ahead of the opening of classes in August, scouting for gadgets their children can use especially with online classes taking a front seat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Briones, however, cautioned parents to be mindful of their purchase, stressing the need to also look at the quality of the product.

Nagbibilihan na ‘yung mga parents. Sabi namin, tingnan muna bago sila bibili, kasi pamurahan ngayon. Pwedeng hulugan, pwedeng downpayment, kung anu-anong plans. Pero, tingnan muna ‘yung capacity— either of the cellphone or the gadget itself,” Briones added.

[Translation: The parents are already buying. But we said, maybe we can look at first before buying, because it’s really a battle of who can sell the cheapest. Some even offer downpayment, other schemes and plans. But let’s see first the capacity of the cellphone or the gadget itself.]

The DepEd announced Monday that face-to-face classes will remain postponed until a vaccine for COVID-19 becomes available. This came in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s earlier directive to ban physical classes until it is safe for students to go to school.

In line with this, officials and celebrities alike have pitched in efforts to help students who do not have access to internet and gadgets.

Vice President Leni Robredo earlier called for donations of gadgets— extra or used— to aid distance learners. Actress Heart Evangelista also said she will be giving away free tablets for those doing online schooling.

No internet or gadget? LGUs to help in distribution of learning materials

Students who do not have access to online learning can use alternative procedures, the agency earlier stressed, as it looks to tap the television and radio medium for the delivery of lessons.

But for those without TV and radio sets, Briones said students can instead get their learning modules from barangay (village) officials or local government units.

“Kung wala pa ring radio, then you have the barangay officials who will deliver ‘yung printed na modules. Kaya nga blended. Kung alin ang pwedeng uubra, ‘yun ang gagamitin. Hindi na parang isang mode lang tayo. Kaya ang laking papel sa field people,” the Education chief noted.

[Translation: If there is still no radio, then you have barangay officials who will deliver the printed modules. That’s why it’s blended. Whatever works will be used. It’s not just one mode of learning. That’s why the field people have big roles.]

As of Tuesday, DepEd has recorded over 8.1 million enrollees for the school year. The agency targets to reach an enrollment rate of 28 million students by the end of the month, Briones added.