DepEd, Smart sign landmark deal connecting 1M teachers with Smart Giga Study plans nationwide
When the pandemic hit, various news on the challenging situations of public school teachers around the country painted the plight that the Education sector faced and continues to struggle with to sustain the quality of education that their students deserve.
Despite the scarcity in resources, there are teachers who tap into their own savings to load up on data connectivity needed to be able to teach their students their lessons and to interact with their classes through online platforms.
The noble sacrifices that the public academe continues to endure in this pandemic has cultivated the public-private partnership between the Department of Education and Smart, the wireless subsidiary of PLDT, to enrich online learning and education, and more importantly, ensure no teacher is left behind.
Addressing the need to empower educators in this indefinite crisis, one million public school teachers will get the data connectivity they need to make their daily teaching tasks easier and practicable.
“Just as much as we believe that it is the right of Filipino students to stay in school, we are committed to delivering solutions for the Department of Education so that they may continue supporting the faculty of government learning institutions across the country,” said Alfredo S. Panlilio, PLDT Inc. and Smart Communications president and chief executive. “Giving them access to the fastest and most reliable internet connectivity that enables their own learning and development, and empowers their online classes as they teach our youth wherever they are, is our way of honoring our public school teachers for their heroic efforts and sacrifices.”
“This is an important opportunity to partner with our government in ensuring that no learner is left behind,” he added.
Subsidized by DepEd through the funds sourced from Bayanihan 2 which Congress approved, activated SIM cards pre-loaded with Smart Giga Study plans will be distributed to public school teachers for their use in online teaching and learning, and interacting with their students.
“This is part of our commitment to deliver the promises of the Bayanihan 2 Act,” Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones. “Through the support of our President, our lawmakers, and our field offices, DepEd has ensured that our personnel and teachers can efficiently provide basic education services to our learners despite the situation.”
This empowering project will equip teachers, who play a critical role in delivering inclusive education, with the necessary tools and connectivity to enable them in their arduous daily task of providing quality online teaching to students.
“The Department has procured the sim cards and connectivity load from our external partner for all the teaching and non-teaching personnel to ensure ease in communication and unhampered delivery of services amid the crisis,” said DepEd Undersecretary Alain Del B. Pascua shared.
The project also supports DepEd’s vision in making public schools resilient and more conducive to learning in the future.
“Parents – especially those part of the workforce – heavily rely on teachers to give their children proper guidance, which makes the role of teachers today even more critical. As the secondary parents of our children, teachers have the most important job in shaping and inspiring the leaders of the future,” said Jovy I. Hernandez, ePLDT Group president & chief executive and PLDT senior vice president and head of PLDT and Smart Enterprise Business Groups. “Teachers mold the holistic development of our children and this is why we endeavor to assist them in turn with the best technologies that will allow them to give our learners better guidance. We are one with DepEd in ensuring that the future of education is fully backed by the necessary support both the educators and students need.”
Both DepEd-provided SIM cards are linked and supported with CuroTeknika Helpdesk that will manage the disbursement of monthly loads for the recipient teachers. These SIMs are powered by Smart LTE—recognized as the country’s fastest mobile data network by global internet testing and analysis leader Ookla—and Smart 5G in selected areas.
The Giga Study plans is a tailor-fit data package that gives users access to a selection of learning apps and productivity tools. Giga Study offers access to Google Suite, which includes Google Classroom, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Gmail, Meet, and Drive. The data pack also offers access to Microsoft 365, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Teams, and OneDrive.
PLDT and Smart have been a strong supporter of the country’s goals to fortify the education system towards becoming digitally-enabled and globally competitive, for the benefit of both the educators and the students.
When the pandemic affected the course of schooling last year, Smart whitelisted the DepEd Commons site, the Department’s online education delivery platform, making access to this site free to students and teachers using Smart even without data load even until today. This gave them access to a multitude of educational resources for use in various grade levels of curriculum.