ADB turns over $1M worth of solar-powered radios, tablets to DepEd

ADB turns over $1M worth of solar-powered radios, tablets to DepEd
A child reads her module inside an evacuation center in Tumaway Senior High School in Talisay, Batangas on November 21, 2020.
Philstar.com / EC Toledo, file

MANILA, Philippines — Multilateral lender Asian Development Bank (ADB) has completed the turnover of $1 million worth of solar-powered transistor radios, Android tablets and Wi-Fi sets to the education department to help with its distance learning programs, the bank said in a statement on Tuesday.

Secondary school students from poor and disadvantaged communities are seen to benefit from the 46,680 solar-powered transistor radios, 3,500 Android tablets, and 21 Wi-Fi local area network (LAN) sets donated by the ADB. 

ADB said it turned over a portion of the equipment to DepEd during a ceremony in Pasig City. 

Schools in Abra, Bohol, Kalinga, Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte and Zamboanga Sibugay provinces, among others, already received most of the equipment earlier this year.

This marks final batch of information technology (IT) equipment which ADB has committed for distance learning activities under its $2.4-million grant. 

The hard lockdowns triggered by the onset of the pandemic forced Filipino students and teachers to migrate to distance learning classes, which was fraught with many difficulties, such as spotty internet and the lack of funds for gadgets.

READ: Distance learning becomes new norm for Philippines education

"Young Filipinos need to continue their education despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic. Those in last mile schools with no access to basic infrastructure and learning resources even before COVID-19 are doubly disadvantaged," ADB Principal Country Specialist for the Philippines Alain Morel said. 

Morel turned over the last batch of IT equipment to Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan.

"Providing them with the tools needed for distance learning will help prevent students from dropping out of school and give them a chance for a better future," Morel added.

Meanwhile, Malaluan said the donation will aid the agency in achieving its goals in fulfilling its learning continuity plan during the pandemic. 

DepEd's Basic Learning Continuity Plan, developed in May 2020, shows that more than 3,500 schools do not have access to reliable electricity and basic infrastructure required to deliver educational services. 

Because of this, DepEd said it has been using radio-based instruction to reach learners in remote areas so they can continue their education. 

The ADB is currently working with the Philippine government to roll out the bank's "Secondary Education Support Program", which seeks to improve the learning outcomes and completion rates of secondary level students. The program, which began in 2019, is set to run until 2023.

The Philippines is a member of the ADB, which is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable future in the Asia and the Pacific. — Angelica Y. Yang

RELATED: It takes a village: Batak students and their struggles in distance learning





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