The Department of Education (DepEd) and tech school STI Education Services Group have agreed to extend their partnership for the deployment of mobile IT classrooms in public elementary and secondary schools nationwide.
The STI Mobile School, which comes in the form of refurbished buses equipped with Internet-enabled PCs, was first deployed three years ago during the Aquino administration.
In her message, DepEd secretary Leonor Briones expressed her excitement for the deployment of mobile schools in remote areas. “This partnership allows us to advance at an exponential rate, with a focus on technology that will capacitate both our learners and teachers,” she said.
STI faculty members will train students with applicable learning modules developed by STI in identified DepEd schools. These modules include computer concepts, application software, basic coding and programming, mobile app development, multimedia and animation tools, audio editing, and movie presentation, among others.
STI CEO Monico V. Jacob noted that its core strength of delivering ICT education in the country pushed the school to provide computer learning and connectivity in distant communities. In 2007, the STI Foundation launched a program called “Driving Education Where IT Matters.”
“Our mobile schools act as our extended classrooms. We reach out and we deliver information technology classes to students and teachers who need better access to computers and internet especially to far-flung communities, which also plays a part in fulfilling our duty to make education accessible,” Jacob said.
There are six STI Mobile Schools equipped with state-of-the-art computer laboratory with Internet access, 24 multimedia computers each, LCD monitors, sound system, and other top-of-the-line computer equipment.
Since its inception, the six STI Mobile Schools have already reached 1,113 sites and has trained 147,222 elementary and high school students, teachers, and other individuals nationwide.
STI said it will also conduct trainings among IT personnel of DepEd schools on computer laboratory management and will deploy technicians to assist DepEd in the monitoring and maintenance of computer units.
STI said it will also collaborate with DepEd to reach out-of-school-youths who aspire to finish their secondary education through the Alternative Learning System (ALS) program.
The ALS sessions are held every Saturday and employ blended and collaborative modes of instruction (face-to-face instructions), e-learning materials (eSkwela), and performance-based assessment.
STI provides physical space in its campuses nationwide as community learning centers in the delivery of the ALS. Aside from the classrooms, STI shares necessary computer units and other equipment and offers manpower assistance in ALS sessions on Information Technology.
According to a Unesco report, the Philippines has a 1.46 million out-of-school population. “This sad reality has driven us to become active in helping out DepEd’s ALS program because we want to contribute to lowering that number and educating as many Filipinos as we can,” Jacob concluded.