CHEd, DepEd seek help from Congress in funding ‘blended learning’
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) and the Department of Education (DepEd) are seeking help from Congress in funding the internet connectivity of institutions and stakeholders in the “blended learning” to be implemented in schools in the upcoming school year.
CHEd executive director Cinderella Filipina Benitez-Jaro noted that while online learning is just one of the approaches that will be used by state universities and colleges (SUCs), it will still entail additional expenses for information and communication technologies (ICT) infrastructure and for the daily consumption of internet services.
“Sa Komisyon po, na-identify po namin na mangangailangan po talaga kami ng tulong sa Senate at Congress ay ‘yung pag-increase ng connectivity ng ating mga institution, not just [for] SUCs but also private higher educational institutions in the sense na malalagyan natin [ng fund] ‘yung hotspots. Kasi ang connection kasi is dalawa. There should be connection sa institution at dapat din may connection ang ating estudyante,” she said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum on Wednesday.
(In the commission, we have identified that we will really need the help of the Senate and Congress in increasing the connectivity in our institutions, not just in SUCs but also in private higher educational institutions in the sense that we can set-up hotspots. Connection is two-way. There should be connection in the institution and students.)
“Para doon sa mga estudyante, sakali man na kaya ng ating private higher educational institutions na may mechanism sila na makapagturo online pero may mga estudyante naman na walang capability, kung magkaroon tayo ng hotspots—this is also in coordination with DICT (Department of Information and Communication Technology)—magkaroon tayo ng hotspot para sa ganoon ay ang mga estudyante ay mabibigyan pa rin ng pagkakataon na magkaroon ng koneksyon.” she added.
(If private higher educational institutions have mechanisms for online teaching but students do not have the capability, if we can set-up hotspots—this is also in coordination with the DICT—then students can still have connection to the internet.)
According to the CHEd official, the commission has available funds for higher educational institutions but this may not be enough.
Meanwhile, Education Undersecretary Jesus Mateo also sought a budget increase for DepEd from Congress so it can provide for the needs of teachers under the so-called “new normal” in the country’s education setup.
“Sana po matulungan kami at masuportahan sa paglaki ng budget. Kasi unang-una, tingnan po natin, hindi lang PS (personnel services) ang lalaki, kasi kailangan magkaroon ng additional manpower hindi lang sa usapin ng guro pati ‘yung magsusuporta sa guro [IT personnel], kasi mag-iiba po talaga ang ating sitwasyon,” he explained.
(I hope they can help and support us in budget increase. In the first place, it’s not just personnel services that will increase because we will also have additional manpower who will support the teachers.)
He noted that even now, the communication expenses of teachers are also increasing as some of them have been contacting their former students for enrollment in the coming school year which will open on August 24.
He added that DepEd should also not neglect the mental well-being of teachers amid the coronavirus crisis.
“We have to ensure yung mental health condition ng ating mga tao po (of our personnel). Kaya nararapat po na kailangan pa rin natin mag-increase ng manpower diyan o humanap ng mechanism to ensure that stable po mentally, spiritually, physically tayong lahat (That’s why we need to increase manpower or create a mechanism to ensure that we are all stable mentally, spiritually, and physically),” he said.
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