DepEd urged to aid poor students gain access to online learning

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Sen. Grace Poe has urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to heighten crucial partnerships with telcos and the private sector to enable indigent learners to equally benefit from online learning.

Deped secretary Leonor Briones

“Our poor students across the country should be given the opportunity as well to participate in online classes instead of merely being confined to printed modules. They must not be daunted or impeded by sheer lack of basic access,” Poe said.

“We owe it to them to consolidate the needed assistance for optimal learning to harness our children’s best potentials,” she stressed.

At the Sept. 25 hearing of the Senate on DepEd’s budget next year, Poe asked DepEd secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones if her department has forged a number of memorandums of agreement (MOA) with telcos to help both students and teachers pursue effective and meaningful online education.

Briones confirmed the existence of such MOAs with private providers whose pursuits are “harmonious” with their programs. At the same time, the secretary noted that the “cost aspect” was an important consideration.

“We subject them to the same standards and criteria for evaluation,” Briones told Poe, “Marami sila (private providers), hindi concentrated to one or two or three, sa mga local governments…”

Early on, students and parents still opted for the modular means of learning, Briones further explained. “Noong enrollment, tinanong namin ang mga bata at teachers kung anong preferred nila’t mga parents, they still opted for modular — ‘yung gumagamit ng mga reading material,” Briones cited.

“The challenge for us (in the department) is to reduce our dependency on printed materials and move in the direction of tapping online tools for education,” the secretary said.

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