Loren deposits the “One tablet, one student” invoice

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The ANTIQUE representative of the isolated district, Loren Legarda, introduced Bill 10405, also known as “One Tablet, One Student Act of 2021”, which aims to provide every public student with elementary and secondary schools as well as students enrolled in state universities and colleges (SUC) a tablet.

In a statement sent to the Manila Times, the former three-term senator said that students who already have their own personal learning gadgets will receive educational assistance in the form of an internet stipend to cover the cost of connectivity. in place.

Legarda urged both Chambers, which are currently working on the 2022 national budget proposal, to consider allocating funds for the said program, believing that this will greatly help public school students adapt to the e-learning mode. amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

She noted, for example, that there are approximately 30,194 students from kindergarten to high school in Antique who do not have devices such as smartphones or tablets, according to a report from the Provincial Schools Division of the ministry. of Education (DepEd).

This, Legarda said, prevents them from dealing with the flexible learning system currently implemented by DepEd.

“For Antique only, if a basic and durable tablet costs around 4000 pesos, we will need an additional 120 million pesos in order to be able to provide for all these students. We need to make sure that our budget, especially in the middle of this ongoing pandemic is capable of meeting the educational needs of our children, ”she added.

According to the DepEd Central Office, if the government plans to provide information and communication technology devices to help students with their education, a three to six-year computerization program that will require 154 billion pesos per year is the proposed solution to bridge the digital divide. .

In a letter to Speaker of the House Lord Allan Velasco and Speaker of the House of Appropriations Eric Go Yap, Legarda proposed to increase DepEd’s proposed budget by 154 billion pesos to fund the implementation of the law in starting next year.

The Education Department also said that this proposal, if approved by Congress, will prioritize students in grades 4, 7 and 10 each year. According to data from DepEd, 27 million primary and secondary students are enrolled for the current school year.

On the other hand, there are around 1.6 million enrolled in SUCs and local universities and colleges, based on data from the Higher Education Commission, excluding teachers themselves who also need such devices.

“While the proposed allocation is staggering, there is a need to ensure that our students each have access to resources that would help them cope with changes in our education system. receive the kind of quality education they deserve, ”said Legarda.

She also noted that while the government is pushing for the gradual return of face-to-face classes, the risks of contracting the virus and its variants remain a threat, thus justifying the need to equip selected students and teachers with the gadget.

“There is no greater investment than education to help reduce poverty and build a sustainable and progressive nation. We need to invest enough support in the education of our young people so that they can take advantage of more opportunities to eventually be employed as professionals and productive members of our society, ”said Legarda.


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