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OPINION: Rushed internet connectivity project proves PH unprepared for distance learning

Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that the Department of Education (DepEd) would finish providing internet access to some 7,000 public schools by next year even though distance learning would start next month.

The P700 million project will prioritize schools in far-flung areas especially those in mountainous regions, education officials have said.

While the project is done in good faith, it only exposes more the country’s lack of readiness to shift to distance learning—even a so-called blended one.

Classes will start on Aug. 24 and yet it is only now that the government is rushing to provide internet access to thousands of public schools—many students of which lack resources for education.

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The DepEd could have blamed the coronavirus pandemic for the many education problems that have beset the country this year such as poor enrollment figures, job security of teachers and other education personnel but the thing is—internet connectivity should have long been in the pipeline.

Critics are right to point the government’s lack of stable infrastructure to pursue distance learning given that the basic infrastructure of traditional learning in the country remains problematic.

Before the DepEd can even successfully address the lack of classrooms and teachers for traditional learning, it is already dipping its toes in problems on distance learning.

It is a fact that digital is the way forward and yet many Filipino students (as much as they want to) cannot even have the bare minimum of internet connectivity because of the lack of basic infrastructure from the government.

It is high time that the government accepts that the country is ill prepared to implement distance learning and stop rushing facilities just to protect the administration’s ego.

Filipino learners stand to lose more if the government pushes with a rushed and problematic distance learning set-up. No one in this country deserves that.

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