DICT in talks with DepEd, CHED for free WiFi in schools

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 09 2020 02:36 PM

MANILA — The Department of Information and Communications Technology is working with education agencies to provide free WiFi in schools as the country's learning system prepares to shift to a new normal due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

This was made known through President Rodrigo Duterte's 11th weekly report to Congress on government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was released Monday.

The DICT directed its regional offices to coordinate with the Department of Education (DepEd) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) "for the prompt installation and deployment of the Free WiFi Internet Access Service," according to Duterte's report.

Aside from the government agencies, the DICT would also be coordinating with state universities and colleges, and other educational institutions.

The rollout of free WiFi would help schools in their shift to online or digital learning, according to the Duterte report.

In-person classes have been prohibited to avoid exposing students and teachers to the risk of contracting the coronavirus.

Telecommunication companies are also in talks with education agencies and schools to help implement alternatives to in-person classes.

Several lawmakers and groups have expressed doubts over plans to implement online learning as an alternative to in-person classes, citing unreliable and unstable internet connectivity in the country.

The DepEd earlier said its proposed blended learning scheme would not only use online platforms, but also printed modules, radio, and television.

Classes at the basic education level are scheduled to formally start on August 24.

Colleges and universities can start their school year depending on their learning delivery mode, the CHED earlier said.