Sara unveils DepEd’s digitalization program

Sara unveils DepEd’s digitalization program

VICE PRESIDENT and Education Secretary Sara Duterte-Carpio unveiled a program that seeks to digitalize public schools nationwide and cited the gains of a pilot curriculum put in place last year to address the cut in learning competencies at an annual event attended by the President on Thursday.

“We will pursue full digitization and interconnectivity of all DepEd (Department of Education) offices and schools,” Ms. Duterte-Carpio said at the Basic Education Report 2024 at a hotel in Pasay City, where she also launched her department’s Digi-Ed (Digital Education) 2028 program.

In attendance, sitting beside her on the stage, was President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.

Also addressing the event, Mr. Marcos mentioned the pilot run of the DepEd’s recalibrated curriculum — the Matatag K-to-10 program in 35 schools — and cited the need to continually train and upskill teachers.

“Teachers are incubators of ideas. Teachers are innovators. So as we move forward, let us keep the teachers as the standards for learning competencies,” he said in his speech after Ms. Duterte-Carpio’s address.

Moments earlier, the Vice President said the DepEd also vowed to build more classrooms and boost teaching skills but underscored the importance of the Digi-Ed 2028 program.

“This will be our flagship program to banner our commitment to adaptability and technological advancement,” she said.

Under the program, DepEd will ensure internet connectivity in schools, harness the potential of technology to advance teaching and learning methods, and pursue large-scale assessments using computer-based methodologies.

While 69% of DepEd schools nationwide have access to internet connectivity, “the truth is that most are limited only to faculty Rooms,” said Ms. Duterte-Carpio, noting talks with internet providers to boost teachers’ and learners’ Wi-Fi access.

Digi-Ed also pushes for the creation of electronic versions of textbooks.

“To leverage digital technology, we have started consultations with various publishers to facilitate the provision of electronic textbooks,” Ms. Duterte-Carpio said, noting that winning bidders in the procurement of textbooks for the so-called Matatag K-10 Curriculum will be required to “provide us with electronic copies that learners may access anytime.”

She said the agency will also promote the responsible and ethical use of technology, “especially with the world exploring Artificial Intelligence in both teaching and learning.”

Under the new jargon, DepEd will build a one-stop “online/offline platform open to teachers, learners and parents.” It will house all digital learning resources and applications in a bid to make learning and teaching materials “accessible” even in times of calamities.

“The portal also seeks to connect multiple DepEd systems in order to provide real-time education statistics and information to our stakeholders.”

Ms. Duterte said DepEd also seeks to “close the gap” in physical infrastructure,” vowing to prioritize schools that have makeshift or temporary classrooms and calamity-stricken areas with many unfunded calamity-damaged school buildings.

The agency will also focus on the construction of medium-rise school buildings in priority areas “with high classroom shortage but with limited buildable space,” she added.

The so-called Matatag curriculum that was launched last year cut down learning competencies down to around 3,600 from over 11,000 to prioritize literacy, numeracy, and socio-emotional skills, which are all deemed “foundational” by DepEd.

It is being piloted in 35 schools nationwide, including sites in Cordillera Administrative Region, Metro Manila, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Visayas, Soccsksargen, and Caraga.

Earlier this month, ACT Teachers Party-list said the government, through the years, has failed to implement a significant salary increase that is at par with the living wage.

The current DepEd leadership has remained “silent on the pleas of teachers and employees,” it said.

Ms. Duterte, in her report, said the agency has already “engaged the World Bank to provide us with a study on teacher salary.”

“We will continuously strengthen teacher support through Professional Development Programs for educators and school leaders, as well as training for teaching reading across grade levels,” she pledged. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza