Press Release
June 11, 2020

Tolentino urges DepEd, CHED to tap UNICEF and
UNESCO's system for distance learning

Administration Senator Francis "Tol" Tolentino called on the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education to tie up with private groups to enhance their existing distance learning systems.

During the hearing of the Basic Education, Arts and Culture on Thursday, Tolentino urged DepEd and CHED to link with United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and other groups and tap their existing platforms that are being used in various parts of the world.

"Why don't we take advantage of the existing platforms tailor-made by these international educational organizations," said Tolentino.

"We must tie up with these big players para hindi na tayo mahirapan sa ating gagawing distance learning," he added.

Tolentino raised the issue after both DepEd and CHED failed to mention during past hearings that they plan to adopt existing modalities coming from UNESCO, UNICEF and other groups which are currently engaged in distance learning.

"For instance, UNICEF has a learning passport supported by Microsoft to help the children of Ukraine, UNESCO has an institute for information technology and education to combat COVID-19 while Google has its Classroom that teachers can use to deliver learning materials to students," Tolentino pointed out.

"You have a menu of all the choices pero wala pa akong naririnig mula sa DepEd kung ano ang gagawin," he added.

Tolentino said online platforms such as Skype, Zoom and Facebook would not suffice in the delivery of learning materials to students so DepEd and CHED must seek help of other groups.

"I am bit worried baka sa unang dalawang linggo sumablay po tayo dito, not because of the lack of competencies on the part of the teachers who will perform this but due to the proper software that will be utilized. Ano po bang software ang gagamitin?" he asked.

Tolentino also asked the committee for a demonstration on how the distance learning would be run, two weeks before the scheduled start of classes on August 24.

DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones told Tolentino that her office is already in touch with both UNICEF and UNESCO.

"They are aware of what we are doing," Briones said.

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