Teachers: 1 GB of data daily not enough for online classes | Inquirer News

Teachers: 1 GB of data daily not enough for online classes

/ 05:03 AM November 02, 2021

DAY’S LESSON: In this photo taken last month, Mathematics teacher Armie Purio uses a desktop computer at Tele-Aral Center in Senator Rene Cayetano Science and Technology High School in Taguig City for her online lecture. (Photo by RICHARD A. REYES / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — In an online post on Monday, a militant group reminded the public to light a candle for the Department of Education’s (DepEd) 349 SIM card and connectivity load program for public school teachers that ended on Oct. 31.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers used a meme format of a man—labeled as DepEd—smiling while posing beside a tomb with an epitaph that read: “In loving memory of DepEd 349 SIM, July 2021 – Oct 2021.”


At the same time, the group pushed for the release of a P1,500 monthly internet allowance for teachers instead of a SIM card to facilitate their conduct of distance learning in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Based on the department’s Memorandum No. 00-0821-0098 released in July, the DepEd SIM card would provide a total of 102 gigabytes of internet per teacher, to be divided into three monthly cycle rations of 34 GB each.

This meant that a teacher would get 1 GB of data per day for access to specific eLearning and DepEd applications “to ensure optimum usage for study applications.”

The extra 4 GB a month was intended for “open data access” to allow them to use other apps online. The first cycle of the regular monthly load started in August.

The DepEd said that while the 34 GB would be loaded monthly for the next three months, the accumulated unused data would not expire within one year from the activation date.


But Reynante Panlaqui, a teacher from Pasay City West High School, said that 1 GB of data a day was not enough for his online classes.

He said that based on his observation, while he was using the 1 GB data, the open-access data was also being consumed. Once it had run out, it would stop working even though the one-month period was not yet over.


“At the same time, not all places in the country have a signal for Smart,” Panlaqui said in a phone interview. The DepEd SIM card program was done in partnership with the telecommunication company.

The teacher, who currently lives in Cavite province after moving several times, said that a strong network signal was important to him.

On Facebook, eight hours of browsing with video content viewing consume 1 GB.

Browsing the web for eight hours uses up an estimated 1.92 GB, the same amount of data used for four hours of video calling.

An hour of watching standard definition content on Netflix consumes 1 GB but it can go up to 3 GB for high definition.

For Zoom, a one-on-one meeting eats up between 540 megabytes and 1.62 GB per hour, depending on the streaming quality. The more people joining a Zoom call, the more data it will take to run the meeting, jumping from somewhere between 810 MB and 2.4 GB per hour.

According to Panlaqui, some teachers even chose not to use the SIM card at all. “They were faced with the problem of where to put the SIM card because they already have an existing SIM card in their phones,” he said.

Inaccessible, impractical

“The problem is that [the SIM card program] is not accessible in all locations. They provided assistance but we weren’t able to use it so it’s not practical,” he added.

Panlaqui said that should they be given the monthly P1,500 internet allowance, they could choose whether to use it for loading their phones or paying for a Wi-Fi connection, depending on which network had a strong signal in their respective areas.

“[Our appeal] is to provide us with the internet allowance because it would be used only during this pandemic; it’s not for a lifetime,” he said.

“Our health workers have extra allowances but for teachers, we have none. In the Philippines, it really seems like you always have to beg for blessings,” Panlaqui added.

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The DepEd has yet to comment on the issue.


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