BY NOEL TALACAY
EDUCATION Undersecretary Alain Pascua on Tuesday reminded teachers and students that there is no urgent need to buy laptops, computers and cellphones they can use in the distance learning delivery mode to be adopted this school year set to start on August 24.
Pascua said a memorandum released by the Office of the Undersecretary (OUA) for Administration last April allows school heads to release or lend equipment such as desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smart phones to teachers.
The memorandum said teachers can bring home the devices so they can hold online training courses and conduct online classes for their students. Teachers, however, are liable for losses or damages on the gadgets if it is determined there was negligence on their part. The memo also said the gadgets should be returned once regular classes resume.
On July 17, 2020, another memorandum was released by the OUA allowing selected students to borrow devices from their schools with the following guidelines: Parents or guardians should sign a property acknowledgement receipt, they should take full responsibility in taking care of the device, students must participate in the mandatory training about the proper use, care, and storage as well as avoiding theft to be conducted by the school IT coordinator.
Pascua said the recipients will be chosen by the school principals or school heads using the enrollment and survey forms, with priority given to students with disabilities.
Under the Digital Rise Program, he added that DepEd is moving towards the direction of providing all schools with the appropriate IT equipment such as laptops for all public school teachers and students.
“The beauty of our approach is that we have options available for everyone. The school year 2020-2021 is not only for those who have laptops and/or cellphones,” Pascua said.
He added that DepEd recognizes the importance and the need of having the right equipment for the new normal of the education system in the country.
“How can we expect teachers to teach our learners about technology, when they do not have the right equipment to do so? We are now trying to fast track our Digital Rise Program, in line with the President’s direction to move towards online and digital learning,” he added.
Various distance learning modalities – online education, blended learning, modular learning, and TV/radio based-instruction – has been adopted by the department in response to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.