/ 20 July 2022

SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian pushed for a measure that will accelerate the digital transformation of the basic education sector by providing free WiFi in all schools.

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture said that the Covid19 pandemic highlighted the nationwide digital divide and the need for innovative teaching methods for learning continuity.

He recalled that for School Year 2020-2021, the first year of distance learning, up to 87 percent of public school learners relied on self-learning modules.

Under Senate Bill 383, the Department of Information and Communications Technology will install free Wi-Fi in all public basic education institutions to strengthen teaching and learning.

The measure aims to escalate the building of the national infrastructure for Information and Communications Technology by mandating the National Telecommunications Commission to identify locations for the construction of telecommunications tower sites.

Areas which remain unconnected, unserved or underserved will be given priority.

Data showed that only two percent or 945 of public basic education schools in the country has access to free WiFi.

Under the bill, the Department of Education shall mandate all schools to enhance and strengthen their ICT capacity to implement distance learning.

The Department of Science and Technology will assist the DepEd and the DICT on the use of science, technology, and innovation to improve traditional teaching and learning processes and pave the way for the basic education sector to reach the Fourth Industrial Revolution.