Slow internet hounds learners

Latest Stories

SEN. Sherwin Gatchalian on Sunday stressed the need to address poor internet connection and lack of gadgets to ensure learners continue to get their education during the pandemic.

Gatchalian said a new poll on distance learning highlighted the challenges parents and learners faced amid the health crisis.

He noted of 1,200 adults surveyed by Pulse Asia from February 22 to March 3, 63 percent have children in basic education. Over 1.6 million learners are attending online classes.

“Amid our efforts to continue education in the time of the pandemic, we saw gadgets and internet connection are like water and electricity for our students and their families,” Gatchalian said in a statement on Sunday.

He stressed “the basic education sector’s recovery should accelerate efforts in expanding access to both internet connectivity and gadgets for learning.”

He cited data from the Department of Education’s (DepEd’s) Learner Information System indicating over 18.7 million of almost 24 million learners were using printed modules for distance learning as of Nov. 27, 2020.

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education noted 43 percent of the respondents said intermittent internet connection is usually a problem at home.

He said 36 percent identified lack of gadgets like cellphones, tablets or laptops as factors that hinder online learning, while 30 percent struggle with expensive internet fees.

The 2019 national information and communication technology survey revealed National Capital Region (NCR) has the highest number of households with internet access (33.2 percent), he said.

At the same time, the NCR respondents suffer most from intermittent internet connection (55 percent) and expensive internet fees (47 percent).

The survey also showed that while NCR suffered less (28 percent) from the lack of gadgets, the problem is more common in the rest of Luzon (41 percent), Visayas (33 percent) and Mindanao (34 percent).

The survey also found 82.3 percent of households nationwide do not have internet access. The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (95.5 percent) and Region 9 (93.8 percent) have the highest number of households without internet access.

Gatchalian proposed last year the installation of cell sites in all public schools to expand internet access.

As part of the roll-out of the Public Education Network, the DepEd and the Department of Information and Communications Technology recently signed a memorandum of agreement to allow the use of public schools as common tower sites.

“When the education sector recovers from the pandemic, we must ensure no learner will be left behind just because they were not connected to the internet or they have no gadgets to use for their education,” Gatchalian said in Filipino.

The senator vowed to file a bill that will provide learners a laptop and an internet allowance.


Today’s Front Page