By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte is planning on ordering the Department of Education (DepEd) to replace textbooks with electronic gadgets like tablets as he pushes for modernization and the children’s involvement in digital communications.
This plan was revealed as Duterte said he wants every government transactions, especially applications, to be done online, upon his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City from Da Nang, Vietnam.
“Sinabi ko na, online na lang (I said everything should be done online now). Passport, online. Clearances, online. Gamitin na ninyo (You should use it now) because it is the digital age,” he said before dawn today.
Duterte expressed that he wants the Filipino children to learn about the growing technology in the digital age this early, reiterating that they are the country’s future.
“Ang pag-asa natin ay ang mga anak natin (Our children are our hope). So they have to learn the basics about cyberspace and everything, digital communications,” Duterte said.
“And I will make that mandatory. Instead of textbook bibili na tayo ng [gadget] for each of the children. Mag-aral na sila ngayon as early as first year [high school] (we will just buy gadgets for each of the children. They should start learning about it as early as their first year in high school),” he added.
“Mandatory na sa lahat ng gobyerno — sa gobyerno sa atin is (It is mandatory in our government) to provide the textbooks and, of course, learn how to use the computers and everything,” he continued.
However Duterte acknowledged that this plan would be expensive but vows to find the money to make this a reality.
“And I will save enough money for this. It’s gonna be billions but I will save for something that is beneficial to our children,” he said.
In August, DepEd received 370 computer tablets, sample student chairs, and the scale model and design of a typhoon-resistant school building from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
According to DepEd, this is to achieve the mutual development goals of ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning.
As part of the ICT (information and communications technology) for Reading initiative under Basa Pilipinas, the 370 tablet computers are said to be turned over to the City Division of San Fernando, La Union, which would benefit 26 schools, 60 Grade 3 teachers, and approximately 1,700 pupils.
According to DepEd, the tablets will be loaded with PDF copies of all Basa Pilipinas-developed Grade 3-level readers in English and Filipino, plus an interactive reading application (Vernacular) that would test and study the use of tablets to support students’ literacy and learning.
Basa Pilipinas is USAID/Philippines’ flagship basic education project in support of the Philippine government’s early grade reading program. It supports the implementation of the language and literacy component of the K to 12 curriculum for Grades 1 to 3.
According to the USAID website, the project’s approach to teacher professional development and systemic change is designed to promote transformational practices at the school, division and national level focusing on classroom change in materials development and accessibility, guided reading, writing, and grouping for differentiated learning.