The Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) have signed a partnership agreement to establish an initiative called Public Education Network (PEN).
DepEd secretary Leonor Briones and DICT secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II signed on Friday, April 16, two Memorandum of Agreements (MOA) to strengthen the delivery of education through broadcast, connectivity, and digital security via the PEN program.
The two national agencies had been coordinating the development of the PEN as early as April 2020. The initiative aims to fast-track the digital connectivity of all public schools and DepEd offices nationwide and allow learners to have wider access to DepEd TV, DepEd Commons, and other learning platforms.
Aside from this, the PEN will also connect DepEd offices to e-government platforms such as the DepEd Enterprise Resource Planning System (DERPS), the Learner Information System (LIS), the DepEd Mobile App, and other partner platforms.
“This partnership is designed not only to deal with Covid-19 but really to deal, not only with the present, but also with the future. We feel braver. We feel more courageous since we are holding hands with the DICT and other institutions who could help us out. With this partnership, we offer more hope to education with the help of our partners,” Briones said.
Honasan said the government recognizes the need for education to continue, despite the limitations imposed by the ongoing health crisis.
“We believe it is imperative to look beyond these immediate concerns to what may be possible for education on the other side of the Covid-19 pandemic. To do this, we are working with DepEd to adopt a framework that shall enable us to promote digital education by harnessing the benefits of various ICT services,” Honasan said.
The partnership will lay down the framework of cooperation and collaboration between DepEd and DICT, including advocacy for the presence of ICT service providers in public school premises, provision of online resources, materials, and systems for educational use, and coordination with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), among others.
As part of its medium to long-term commitment, DICT will also assist in augmenting the future satellite capacity of DepEd for Last Mile Schools and in providing data transport service using a fiber-optic network under the GovNet and Microwave towers.
Additionally, DepEd and DICT will also work together to determine suitable real estate properties owned or under the administration of DepEd for use as sites or locations for common towers that will let government agencies share resources and technologies for the benefit of Filipinos.
The PEN program is part of the Digital Rise Program under the Public Schools of the Future (PSOF) Framework.