DepEd says looking into issues in Davao webinar after viral photo of teachers in tents

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 18 2020 01:53 PM

A group of teachers set up a tent on the side of the road in Maco town, Davao de Oro to access the internet and attend a DepEd webinar. Photo courtesy of Jeson Arias Mangca Celebre

MANILA — The Department of Education (DepEd) said Thursday its office in the Davao region was looking into issues encountered during a webinar widely attended by teachers, including some who had to set up tents on the side of a road to get connection so they could participate in the activity.

Education Undersecretary Alain Pascua said the 2 online tools used during the webinar had reported server issues due to a sudden influx of users.

The webinar, scheduled from Wednesday to Friday, aimed to train teachers on technology-based teaching as the country prepared to shift to distance learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pascua said around 45,000 teachers from the Davao region participated in the webinar while 156,000 Facebook users watched as it was streamed on the social network.

"The webinar, by far, is the largest DepEd online activity that has reached so many participants and viewers, beating all other webinars conducted at the national level," he said.

"Both online tools apparently reached their limit of the number of users accessing their servers at the same time," he explained.

The DepEd said its information and communications technology unit was also "getting in touch" with the 2 online platforms to prevent similar issues from happening in the future.

Among the participants of the webinar were some teachers who were photographed Wednesday morning on the side of the road in Davao de Oro's Maco town.

The person who took and posted the photos online said the teachers had set up tents in the area to access the internet and participate in the webinar.

The photos did not sit well with the group Alliance of Concerned Teachers, which said the teachers were left on their own to find ways to fulfill their duties.

But the DepEd praised the teachers for their "desire to upskill themselves."

"These very same teachers are thankful for the opportunity to learn and equip themselves with the skills appropriate for the unique challenges posed by the New Normal," said Pascua.

"Their excitement over the webinar sessions is a testament of their resourcefulness and fortitude despite the lack of mobile coverage in their areas," he added.

The DepEd earlier said it was finding ways to ensure that teachers and students have internet-capable equipment that can be used for virtual classes in the coming school year.

In-person classes in the country have been prohibited until a vaccine against the coronavirus disease is available.

Schools are set to use online platforms, printed and digital modules, television, and radio to deliver lessons to students when classes formally start in August.