The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will be providing tablets, laptops, and units of pocket Wi-Fi to the City of San Juan to be used by students for online learning for the upcoming school year.

The initiative, called the Digital Teachers and Digital Learners Project, is part of the DICT’s Digital Education Program which aims to facilitate digital transformation in the education sector and help address challenges in the delivery of basic education in the K-6 during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The project also targets to help the Department of Education (DepEd) in designing Alternative Delivery Modes (ADMs) as part of the blended learning approach.

The tablets will be distributed to all student residents of San Juan City who are enrolled in the City’s public elementary and high schools, except for grades three (3) to six (6) students of Pinaglabanan Elementary School who will instead be given free laptops and pocket Wi-Fi.

All devices are pre-loaded with DICT and DepEd-developed teaching and learning digital content. Quick links to the DepEd teaching and learning portals (DepEd Commons, LRMDS), among others, will also be installed in all devices.

“Napili natin ang San Juan bilang unang tatanggap ng inisyatibong ito dahil ang pamunuan ng San Juan ay may plano may plano para umangat naman ang pamumuhay ng bawat mamayan sa san Juan. At higit sa lahat, mapa-angat ang antas ng edukasyon ng susunod na henerasyon natin ng mga mamamayan at lider, ang ating pinakaka-ingatan na kayamanan ang ating kabataan,” DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said.

[We chose San Juan as the first recipient of this this initiative because San Juan has a plan – a plan to improve the lives of its citizens. Most importantly, a plan to improve the level of education of our next citizens and leaders, our most precious resources – our children.]

According to Secretary Honasan, Pinaglabanan Elementary School will be the pilot school and serve as a showcase for the Digital Teachers and Digital Learners Project.

“Sa pamamagitan nito, maipapakita natin sa buong bansa at sa buong mundo na kung kaya natin itong gawin sa San Juan, kaya natin itong gawin nationwide,” he explained.

[Through this, we will be able to show the whole country and the whole world that if we can do it in San Juan, then we can do it nationwide.]

San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora said the learning gadgets will help public school students continue their education amid the disruption in the education system brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Malaking tulong ito [gadgets] sapagkat alam natin sa panahon ngayon wala talagang face-to-face learning muna. Ang method talaga ng pag-aaral ay online. So paano ka mago-online education kung wala kang tablet?… Minsan nagiging dahilan pa ito na huwag na lang mag-aral… Yan po ang problemang nasolusyonan natin ngayon araw,” he explained.

[The gadgets are a big help since face-to-face learning are currently suspended and online learning is the alternative methods of education at present. How will students engage in online education if they have no tablets? … Sometimes, the lack of gadget even becomes as an excuse for students to stop schooling… That’s the problem we solved today.]

The DICT and the City of San Juan has initially signed a partnership in September 2019 for the deployment of free Wi-Fi sites in public places within the city through DICT’s Free Wi-Fi for All Program. As of the present, there are 36 locations in San Juan installed with Free Wi-Fi.