Robredo calls on gov’t to put internet hubs in barangays for distance learning
MANILA, Philippines — The government should make sure that barangays nationwide would have internet hubs so that students without gadgets and a stable internet connection can use them for their distance learning classes.
Vice President Leni Robredo made this suggestion on Wednesday as the COVID-19 pandemic forced a shift from in-person to online classes.
“First, let’s make sure that each barangay has an internet hub so that students without their own gadgets can access resources online,” Robredo said in Filipino.
“Second, let’s target the students most in need so that we can give gadgets or devices so that their schooling will not be delayed,” she added.
Robredo also suggested creating studies that would pinpoint the areas without or with low risks of coronavirus transmissions — areas where face-to-face learning could resume.
And if both measures are not possible, then students can use modules from weekly or monthly curriculums prepared by teachers, with their parents teaching them at home.
Robredo also said that the government could opt to widen the scope of its scholarship grants to include students whose relatives were suffering or had died from COVID-19 — which entail huge expenses.
“We should understand the wider effects on those left behind. Besides mourning, they have lost a breadwinner or have sunk deep in debt. If we neglect those left behind, especially children who are still studying, the damage brought by the pandemic will extend to the next generation,” she said.
The Department of Education adopted distance learning after President Rodrigo Duterte banned in-person classes to avoid coronavirus transmissions inside classrooms and public vehicles.
However, both teachers and students — especially those from rural areas— technical limitations would make it hard to conduct online classes.
Last June, photos posted on social media showed teachers in Davao de Oro camping roadside just to get a good cellular signal, prompting people to ask the government for assistance on such issues.
In a late-night briefing, President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to purchase transistor radios for those in far-flung areas to ensure that they could continue schooling, although he admitted that he would still find the money as funds had run out.
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