Gov’t, private sector urged to upgrade online education infra amid pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — The national government and the private sector should join forces to upgrade the country’s digital infrastructure and services to improve online learning.
Orlando Oxales, Convenor of Telecom Tower Watch, highlighted the need to boost the country’s digital education infrastructure, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic when online learning plays a huge role.
Telecom Tower Watch is an advocacy partnership of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and CitizenWatch Philippines to accelerate the expansion of telecommunication towers and fiber-optic networks to catch up with the growing demand for broadband service.
“The shock of the lockdowns revealed how the gaps in connectivity, equipment, ICT skills of teachers, the learners, and even their parents were not ready for the quick shift to e-learning,” Oxales said in a statement over the weekend.
Oxales believes that there is a need for “more collaborative interventions” to strengthen the country’s digital connectivity.
“Boosting digital modes of education and the upskilling of all teachers in basic and higher education must be encouraged with incentive mechanisms such as tax breaks on all ICT-related equipment,” he added.
Oxales added that the government should allocate adequate funding to fast-track the implementation of several initiatives like the National Broadband Program, the common tower initiative as well as a free WiFi program.
For his part, DICT Secretary Gregorio “Gringo” B. Honasan II said: “Moving forward, we shall exert our utmost efforts to ensure the delivery of quality education to our children — education that they will need to live fulfilling lives as adults and to participate in and contribute to the global digital economy.”