#NoStudentLeftBehind: SOS Children’s Villages Philippines On The Shift To E-Learning
Out of last school year’s 27.7 million enrollees, only 23 million students are enrolled for the academic year 2020-2021 according to Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan. This means 4 million children are now out-of-school due to the on-going COVID-19 health crisis.
The pandemic has forced schools to close and classes to be indefinitely suspended early this year. Not too long, students were asked to send in their last requirements to conclude the school year and keep them safe from the spreading coronavirus.
After the abrupt end of the last academic year, DepEd is slowly easing in new programs that would serve as an alternative to the traditional face-to-face learning method. DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones has instructed schools to implement blended or distant learning by the start of classes or on October 5, 2020. These methods can use online learning, printed modules, and broadcasted lessons through TV and radio wherein students can safely stay inside their homes.
However, these new learning methods are bringing out mixed reactions from our very own SOS children.
Apprehensions About Online Learning
Laila*, a Grade 8 student from SOS Bataan, is sad that she can no longer go to her school. “Face-to-face interaction in our classes is where I gain friends, knowledge, and experiences. And that’s my favorite part of going to school,” she says.
Taken before the pandemic, Laila comes home from school
Grade 9 student from SOS Calbayog Nene*, on the other hand, is feeling optimistic about the shift to online learning. She acknowledges, “I am not comfortable with using the computer and internet to study. But I know that this could broaden my knowledge and skills so I want to learn and keep up with the new normal.”
Nene learning how to paint during the quarantine
Laila and Nene are just two of 810 children living in our SOS villages who are enrolled this school year. And we have 3,000 more students who are part of the SOS Family Strengthening Program and are residing in vulnerable communities near SOS villages. They all need e-learning facilities to aid them in blended and distance education.
Entering this new normal in the education sector pushes us to adapt to modern technology by utilizing computers and the internet for learning. “In the children’s villages, we expect that this will be a big adjustment for the children and the organization since our country mainly practiced face to face learning over the years,” SOS Lipa’s Village Educator Justine Linatok observes.
She added, “although modern gadgets have long entered our daily lives in the village even before the pandemic, the use of computers and cellphones have been limited as it was not required in the traditional learning method."
Despite the apprehensions surrounding online learning, the need for it has become imminent in delivering quality education to students amidst the on-going pandemic. Now we have to consider the cost – how much do we need to provide sturdy computers and a fast internet connection?
Projected Cost of One E-learning Set
Components & Specs
- 10th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-10500T
Processor (12M Cache, up to 3.80 GHz)
- 8GB Single Channel DDR3L 1600 MHz memory
- 1TB 7200 RPM (standard) SATA Hard Drive
- 1 USB 3.0 and 2 USB 2.0 Ports
- 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.0, Dual Band 2.4&5 GHz Wireless Network
Smart LED TV
- HDR (High Dynamic Range)
- 2 HDMI and 2 USB Ports
- 2-Channel 20W Dolby Digital Plus Audio
- Ethernet LAN and Wireless LAN Adapter Support
- Web Browsing Capability
Internet Connection (at least 10 mbps) for one school year
COST OF 1 E-LEARNING FACILITY SET
This proposed e-learning set shall be shared by 6 to 8 students living together in one family house. The laptop will be used for online classes, webinars, and homework. The Smart TV, on the other hand, will be used for accessing the DepEd Commons, watching educational videos, and facilitating one-way instructional methods. The appliances must be durable and of good quality so that it can withstand heavy usage and can last a good number of years.
“In spite of the challenges that COVID-19 has brought to our villages, I still want my children to be provided with the best education that we could give. Education is vital to every child’s development and I believe that it’s their key to a better future,” says SOS Manila Village Director Raymond Rimando.
Without education, underprivileged children will continue to live in poverty. And as a society, we can never progress by leaving these children behind. We have the responsibility to work hand in hand to provide quality education to those who need it most and make sure that #NoStudentIsLeftBehind, especially in this health crisis.