/ 22 January 2021

CAMARINES Sur 2nd District Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr.  sought the setting up of clearing houses to facilitate the donation of surplus equipment and technology to schools.

He filed House Bill 8410 or the proposed Educational Technology Clearinghouse Act House Bill 8410 which mandates the Secretary of the Education department to make grants to or enter into contracts with regional public or private nonprofit entities for the purpose of supporting a system of regional educational technology clearing houses.

Under the bill, each entity that will receive a grant or contract shall support a clearing house that facilitates the transfer of surplus equipment and technology to schools and libraries.

The clearing houses will ensure that surplus equipment and technology is distributed in a fair and equitable manner. School districts with the greatest need for such equipment and technology will be given priority.

The measure also mandates clearing houses to provide technical assistance to a school or library to ensure the equipment and technology being donated is consistent with their short-term and long-term plans.

Villafuerte said that equipping schools with technology is a necessity.

“Technology in the classroom improves students’ mastery of basic skills, test scores, writing, and engagement in school. With these gains come decreases in dropout rates and decreases in attendance and discipline problems,” he said in his explanatory note.

Villafuerte explained that not enough students have access to computers, distance earning, and telecommunications technologies.

“In fact, many public schools do not have any computers, while few have older models that do not have the power to perform advanced functions, such as those involving video and the internet,” he said.