Press Release
June 25, 2020

Basic Education Hearing Transcript of Senator Francis Tolentino

-i have a record here that a total of 337,486 public school teachers were trained by DEPED's education technology unit or information and communication's technology based instruction which is just about 40 percent of the total public school teaching population of more than 800,000 so 800,000 public school teachers ng na-train pa lang ng DEPED para sa distance learning ay 337,486 which is just 40 percent eh Malapitan na po yung August 24 for school opening Director. So papaano po ito? Kung ready na po yung 40 percent papaano po yung 60 percent?

DEPED Director
- your honour that's why I mentioned earlier that the National Education Academy of the Philippine (NEAP) will conduct the massive training this July your Honour.

- so your saying by July maco-cover po itong 60 percent?

DEPED Director
- thats part of the plan of the NEAP your Honour but it think our Usec Diosdado San Antonio can talk more about this

Usec Diosdado San Antonio
- we hope to be able to provide the training for our fellow teachers this coming July the remaining 60 percent, let it also be known that the in addition to the training being done by ICTS there are also local initiatives from the division offices, regional offices the teachers are also being given training activities, in fact a few schools have also been doing the trains of their teachers they have requested me to render a video messages for their own service training so the one that has been cited was the data from the ICTS that trained the teachers in terms of teaching them on how to convert light materials into a ebooks and digital formats and all other things po your honour

- so Usec and sinasabi mo matatapos itong remaing 60 percent this July at the same time we have to recon with two factors na hindi pa natin napapagusapan, una lumulobo po yung population ng mga estudyanteng nag eenrol, 13.75 million ang ini-expect ninyo hindi pa natin napapag usapan dito yunggaling ng private schools na lilipat sa public schools dahlia medyo magkakaroon tayo nang economic downturn, pangalawa hindi pa ho natin napapagusapan yung content ng training modules na binigay nyo sa mga teachers, sa 40 percent, ano laman nito baka no offence, baka nappat usapan lang doon pappans i-off, pappans i-on hindi pa napapag usapan dito yung technological support na naitanong ko noong hearing, papaano pag nag bug down yung computer ng isang estudyante, sino ang magbibigyan ng technological support? Hindi kaya ni nanay, hindi kaya Tatay, hindi rin kaya nuna estudyante, palagay ko hindi rin kaya no teacher dahil ang trinain natin kay teacher ay kung papaano i-operate at papano mag deliver ng classroom instructions utilising technology. Tama po ba yun Usec?

Usec San Antonio
- Senator Tolentino we'll submit po the content of the different training programs to your office because the details right now are submitted to the office of Sen. Gatchalian so that you can take a look at what we are offering for our fellow teachers to be ready for the opening of the school year including po the mechanisms in terms of providing technical support, we'll provide you the existing protocols send out by our ICTS

- Usec Umali and the other resource persons listening, reality check, right now DEPED has submitted that only 40percent of the teachers are trained number 1, number 2 we have 13 million plus, 13.75 million new enrolees for this coming year, number 3 the mapping issue raised by Senator Binay will only be addressed after the completion of the enrolment which probably would be finished by the end of July, and you have a little less than 1 month before the August 24 school opening that's number 3, for the information of other resource persons there is a pending law which probably will be signed by the President giving the President thru the Secretary of Education the discretion to extend the School opening as requested by the other sectors ULAP, some private schools beyond August 24, why am I saying this? Reality check number 5 I have a study here with me, which came out May 7, 2020 this year in another jurisdiction and I quote that typical planning preparation and development for a fully inclined force is normally 6 to 9 months before the course is delivered faculty is usually more comfortable teaching online by the second or third iteration of their online courses, it will be impossible for very faculty member to suddenly become an expert in online teaching and learning in this current situation in which lead time range from a single day to a few weeks. Your saying Usec Umali that after the completion of the enrolment we'll have the mapping? But right now you have admitted that you still have to print the required materials and prepare the contents papano po tayo mag oopening sa August 24,kung mhabang panahon pala ang kailangan para maka-develop ng tamang online course and this is probably also applicable to CHED so sa loob ba ng isang buwan matatapos natin yan? Usec Umali? Given the lack of preparation we have right now?

Usec Umali
- printing of materials mr. Chair usually it takes 30 to 60 days including deliveries Mr Chair, ang tanong po kung hands na po ba itong mga materials na po ito? Usec. Dods will answer po that particular question. Yung mapping po Mr, Chair hindi po yan end of July ang siansabi laming po naming ay the mapping of really capturing the fact which of our learners which portion of the Philippines that are capable doing online, ano po ba yung kanila focus of self modules, malalaman po after June 30, kasi yun po yung huling araw na makakalap po namin lahat ng survey ng lahat ng mag aaral hindi po namin papaabutin yan ng pagkatapos po ng July, and without even waiting tulad po ng nabanggit ko Mr chair, na nangyari itong mapping nato eh nagsasanay na po kami as we speak, kaya nga po nabanggit ko kanina that we have an existing 40percent na po and its on going we will not wait to finish the survey

Just one quick reaction to the statement made by the honorable chairman, relative to the plan Valenzuela, to distribute cellphones to the pupils of Valenzuela. Na hindi yata nasagot nang daretso ni Usec. Umali dahil ang DepEd noong June 8 ay nag-issue ng memorandum na kailangan merong specifications yung gadget. Ang gusto ng DepEd e 13 inches yung size ng screen. So ang ibig sabihin, hindi na po pupwedo yung telepono. So kailangan na bilhin na ng mga parents ng bata, ng mga LGUs gaya ng Valenzuela, e talagang laptop na ho ito. Dahil 13 inches, napakalaking telephono na yun. So Usec. Umali, bakit po nag-issug ng guidelines na hindi pa natatapos itong mapping, hindi pa siguro alam yung kakayahan nung ibang mga LGUs na gustong tumulong. Paano po lumabas itong guidelines? Is this a unilateral memorandum issued by DepEd without consultation? Medyo mahal poi tong 13 inches 8GB RAM ang memory, ang storage dapat ay 512GB, medyo may kamahalan po ito. Can you answer than Usec. Umali?

- Mr. Chair, that issuance po was the result of various sectors, including LGUs and partners, inquiring from DepEd, kung magdodonate po sila ng laptop or gadget, ano ba yung preference po ng DepEd. Ano po ba yung technical specifications. So that I believe, Mr. Chair, if you're referring to the same document that I have in mind right now, the used key word there is 'recommended' not 'required'. So dahil po may humingi, ano po ba yung amin pong palagay na mga technical specifications, kaya lamang po nilabas yan. Yan po ay resulta, I'll try to get the consultation process that this instrument went through, but my understanding is it also considered some factors like if the child has no access to internet connectivity, and then we will just upload our materials, ano po ba yung magandang memorya po nito. Honestly, Mr. Chair wala po akong kinalaman sa instrumento na yan, sinasabi ko lamang po yung proseso. So I do not have personal knowledge on the thought process that they went through when they come up with that issuance, which makes a lot of sense Mr. Chair, kasi kung ia-upload lamang po at mahina halimbawa yung memory, e baka hindi rin po kaya. So this is again to be clear, recommended, but it is not a requirement.

Mr. Chair and Usec., ang nakalagay dito sa memorandum dated June 8, e ito yung minimum specification. So napakarami hindi ko pa nga nabanggit kanina, kailangan may keyboard, mouse, headset, touchpad, power adapter, kailangan may mga ports, camera, audio. Pero ibig ko sabihin, di naman sa palakihan ng gadgets yan. May maliliit ngang gadgets, siguro ito yung tinutukoy ni Sen. Gatchalian, yung sa kahit sa cellphone, na kayang magkaron ng ganong laman. So kung magkakaron tayo ng mga headset, karagdagang gastos pa yun. So I think Mr. Chair, siguro ito dapat reviewhin din ng DepEd, kailangan ba talaga na desktop? Baka naman pupwedeng telepono lang na malakas-lakas. So having said that Mr. Chair, I think it would take further consultation for this to materialize. Salamat po Mr. Chair.

- Naiintindihan ko po yung sinabi ni Sen. Tolentino. There are all valid concerns po. Pagtutuunan po natin lahat. I will coordinate po with the specific strand or office of DepEd which issued that particular instrument and we will submit the answers. And we heard our good senator Tolentino that if any clarifications are necessary, I will discuss this with our good Secretary at ng lahat po nung gumawa noong issuance. Salamat po.

I'm looking at the programs of UNICEF and very interested with you discussing the UNICEF's learning passport program is applicable here. It's a global learning platform launched by UNICEF, with the help of Microsoft. My question is can it be applied here? And looking at the profile of your country, I think you have your own Plataforma Unica, your single learning platform as well in Peru. So what you're doing right now in Peru, is a combination of internet, WhatsApp and the utilization of TV and radio programs. And your Ministry of Education announced the distribution of 800,000 tablets to children in rural areas of Peru. Costing 177 million in US dollars. We don't have that right now in the Philippines. Similar to the intervention of Korea 215 million US dollars. So given your experience here, my question is will the learning passport program of the UNICEF be applicable in the Philippines? Your experience in Peru? Would you recommend? I'm now having a leading question here. Would you recommend that PTV4 be specific and focused on grade schools and IBC13 be focused on high school students as well? So can you have a brief response to that sir?

- Of course senator. So let me explain very briefly the context of learning passport and I'm very glad to hear that you are very informed about this important initiative that is having good results in other countries. The learning passport is an initiative by UNICEF and other partners. Mostly focused on countries that needed half online platforms. So we discussed with DepEd about the learning passport but in the case of Philippines there was already an online platform which is 'Commons' so in the case of countries that already have this government platform, it is better to use them and strengthen them. So that is what we discussed and we found that it's even better to use what is already existent in the country and improve it. So now, if we have an ongoing call, issue with the DepEd and we will support and make them the most and the best with this Commons platform. I think in the case of the Philippines, this is a very good initiative and we are very honor to provide support to this. So the learning passport is used in other countries that didn't have any government learning platform which is not the case in the Philippines. In this case, it is better to strengthen what is already developed by the country. That considered already the characteristic and the context of the country.

Señor, one question, is the learning passport program of UNICEF offered to various countries for free? Is there any amount that will be spent by the receiving country? I am referring to the cost, and Commons is more expensive than the learning passport program.

- It is more expensive because there are other, to implement a new program, of course this can be provided for free but implementing it would require some investment too so in terms of capacity building, adapting the resources to the country and etc. so if you have already an online platform in the country, it is better to strengthen it than to start and try to build another one. And we know that Commons has already in very well received by the country. They have millions of users so it is better to strengthen it and to continue this very good initiative than trying to bring another one. What we can do is try to extract lessons from other country, using the learning passport, also maybe to identify what resources might be helpful to the Philippines and to offer these to DepEd. So this is something that UNICEF is happy to provide support. But not in replacing what is already established and very well received.

The purpose of the bill, is really to integrate existing effort, which are relatively scattered today. So the existing bureaus, the Bureau of Learning Delivery, BS Services and Information, Communications Technology Service. The functions will now be more or less integrated into just one bureau, to make it more sustainable and even past COVID era, we will be looking at online distance education and further technological developments as a prime function of DepEd. So scattered resources will have probably be integrated and we are looking at more optimal solutions to problems that would be confronted by the country especially the disasters, etc. We really meant to provide a platform that would be ready and long-standing. Because right now, if we look at what is happening, all of these, permutated because of invention of the internet. The invention of the internet came as early as 1983. Developed into a world wide web: www., early 1990s. So what we have now, we are about in the 20th year of the internet, what we are looking at right now is a farther development. We are looking right now at blockchain technology, and blockchain technology is not just a wave in the future, it is happening now. It is now quote to quote "peer to peer blockchain technology". We are now talking of less ___, we are now talking about cryptocurrencies. We'll be in quantum technology, years from now. So the creation of a bureau that would address this, would mean that we have a permanent institutionalized office within the DepEd that would address all of these. It is not going to be an adhoc committee that will address. A Usec probably that will be tasked to develop a module, etc., a committee, but a permanent bureau addressing science-based concerns, adept to technological changes, etc. That is the purpose of the bill. Thank you Mr. Chair.

- Sen. Tolentino, at the moment, DepEd has established the Office of Alternative Education Futures. Perhaps we can harmonize all these efforts and of course look closely into your bill because I think that is a very very important initiative. Thank you Mr. Senator.

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