By Edd K. Usman
Chinese telecom equipment firm Huawei on Tuesday, July 12, joined the Global Filipino Schools (GFS) program of Globe Telecom and Ayala Foundation Inc. (AFI) with a donation of 100 second-hand laptops.
The grant is expected to boost the GFS, Globe’s nationwide program aimed at establishing digital centers of excellence in public elementary schools across the Philippines.
“It is Huawei’s commitment to bridge the digital divide where everyone can link up and openly collaborate. At the same time, we continue to work with our customers and partners like Globe to build a better connected world,” Jacky Gao, CEO of Huawei Philippines, said in a statement.
He said Huawei is hopeful that the laptops would help teachers and students gain access to high-quality educational materials right at their fingertips.
Fernando C. Esguerra Jr., director of citizenship corporate communications at Globe, said the GFS program started in 2009 with Ayala Foundation “to establish ICT centers of excellence for public schools across the country.”
“We are very happy with the results in terms of the learning outcomes that we were able to deliver,” the Globe official said, adding that the digital skills of the students improved as they became more adept in using the hardware and software provided to them.
Their engagement also rose as they learned or remembered better their lessons because of the creative ways they were delivered through technology. Esguerra said GFS transformed the culture of the schools, especially in the provinces, as teachers were no longer hesitant in using technology.
?Now, teachers and students are using their mobile phones not only for social media but also for teaching and learning,? he said.
Welllington Liu Tao, Huawei’s head of public affairs and communications, said he remembers his company joining Globe and Ayala Foundation in 2013 to help Yolanda communities and their residents. He said his company donated $30,000 for the Yolanda rehab program.
“This is big beginning for the three of us, to partner again for the future of the country’s next generation, focusing on education,” said Tao.”The Philippine market is still growing and we are very optimistic about the future economy in this country.”
Romualdo C. Katigbak, chief financial officer of AFI, said they are also hopeful of strengthening teachers’ capacities through training and mentorship program.
Currently, GFS has already 20 public schools around the country as centers of excellence with Globe further pushing for more partnerships with the Department of Education’s (DepEd) regional offices. GFS has already benefited 41,038 students and 7,227 public school teachers who underwent training as Global Filipino Teachers (GFTs).
The target is to scale up the program to cover all the DepEd’s school divisions nationwide inside five years. AFI is Globe’s implementing arm of GFS for eight schools this year. Globe provides internet access to teachers and students in schools under the GFS program.
Huawei’s donation of 100 laptops will be given to four schools (25 devices each) namely, Sta. Cruz Elementary School in Ligao, Albay; San Pascual Elementary School in Batangas, and Center of Excellence in Public Elementary Education (CENTEX) in Nasugbu, Batangas; and one in Manila.
Meanwhile, Huawei also adopted Globe’s Project 1 phone electronic waste recovery and recycling program as it turned over around 2,000 kilograms of various e-wastes from old and decommissioned corporate assets and personal donations of the Chinese company’s employees as of January 2016.