MANILA, PHILIPPINES -— PLDT and Smart recently provided the Department of Education (DepEd) with a package of digital services to help support the academic sector offer continuous learning amid the challenges of the nationwide enhanced community quarantine.
Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones spearheaded the call for support from the telcos in providing free access to DepEd Commons (https://commons.deped.gov.ph), the Department’s online education delivery platform designed as alternative mode for teaching-learning process during class suspensions and other similar circumstances.
“In this time of crisis, it is important that we make it possible to overcome this challenge with solid partnershlps wlth the prlvate sector. We are thankful on our partners’ generosity in support of the continuity of public education by providing us free data for DepEd Commons access amid the COVID-19 situation,” said Briones.
For starters, access to the DepEd Commons site was made free to students and teachers using Smart even without data load. This gives them access to a multitude of educational resources for use in various grade levels of curriculum.
“DepEd Commons was designed as a direct solution to give access to online review materials and Open Educational Resources (OERs) during class suspensions and other similar circumstances,” said DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua. “OERs in DepEd Commons are authored by public school teachers who are subject experts, properly cited and acknowledged. Teachers can retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute the content by blending it with a learning management system to deliver a distance learning modality.”
“We are facing many challenges in ensuring the continuity of education especially in this extremely difficult situation that we are in. In partnership with PLDT and Smart, DepEd is steadily moving forward in bringing educational resources to the teachers and the learners wherever they may be,” Pascua said.
The package also includes 10 mother tongue-based literacy apps that can be downloaded for free from Google Play under #LearnSmart. These interactive apps help develop literacy, numeracy, and higher-order thinking skills among children from Kinder to Grade 3.
“With digital learning becoming more mainstream given the COVID-19 pandemic, online teaching has come to the fore, changing the local educational climate and norms of teaching forever,” said PLDT CRO and Smart President Al Panlilio.
“Through this whitelisting, concerned parties with Smart subscriptions may continue to log on to the DepEd Commons platform through a device without load credits.”
PLDT has also extended its services to include free access to #CyberSmart resources that equip teachers with knowledge on cybersecurity and safety, data privacy and protection, and combating fake news.
To reach out to teachers and students who are unable to go online, Smart will also provide 10 units of the School-in-a-Bag, a portable digital laboratory designed to facilitate continuous learning in times of emergencies and disasters.
These services also augment the collective bayanihan efforts of the PLDT group and MVP Group of Companies to assist the different government agencies in implementing the necessary programs to control the spread of the virus and still service the general public amid the ECQ.
These include the provisioning of emergency hotline numbers and call center facilities for key government agencies such as the UP-PGH, the Department of Health, the Lung Center of the Philippines, and toll free for calls made by PLDT, Smart, Sun, and TNT subscribers to emergency hotline numbers.
PLDT and Smart are also providing free Smart Wi-Fi to different COVID-19 facilities, public hospitals, and thoroughfares, and whitelisted several government and news websites of the Department of Health, the National Task Force-endorsed StaySafe.ph, and the Philippine Information Agency, among others.
Most recently, the PLDT Group equipped the DOST, AFP, and IATF’s RapidPass Project with QR code-scanning powered by Smart postpaid lines and mobile devices.
“We believe that technology and education are equalizers of opportunities. As such, this partnership between PLDT-Smart and the Department of Education plays a crucial role in providing fair and equal opportunity in the economic and social mobility of our youth. For our part, PLDT-Smart will continue to play this role vigorously in connecting and enabling everyone in these trying times,” said Panlilio.