P1.1B Set to Hook Up Public Schools to Net - INQ

MANILA, Philippines—A total of P1.1 billion has been allotted to provide Internet connectivity to a total of 9,048 public elementary and high schools countrywide, Catanduanes Representative Joseph Santiago, chairman of the House committee on information and communications technology, said Sunday.

Santiago said the fresh funding, contained in the proposed P1.541-trillion national budget for next year, would also cover the acquisition of additional computer sets for 577 public high schools.

"Technology and the Internet are definitely taking on bigger roles in basic education—in providing essential instructional support. Our public schools cannot afford to be left farther behind," Santiago said.

"It has become absolutely imperative for us to provide students and teachers alike greater access to the wealth of knowledge and information on the Internet," he added.

As of April this year, with the support of private and non-government partners, Santiago said the Department of Education had managed to install computer laboratories in 4,019 public high schools.

More than half of these schools are now hooked up to the Internet, according to Santiago, former chief of the National Telecommunications Commission.

"We are now living in a world where Internet access is increasingly becoming a necessity, not a luxury. We have to ensure that every public high school graduate has ample computer literacy," Santiago said.

Without counting the new P1.1-billion allocation for 2010, Santiago said the government intends to provide a total of 6,650 public high schools nationwide with computers and Internet connectivity by the end of this year.

Gearing up Internet Literacy and Access for Students (Gilas) has been the largest private contributor to the push to improve the public school system’s access to computers and the World Wide Web.

Led by the Ayala Foundation Inc., Gilas is a program driven mainly by corporations and non-profit institutions "that realize the need to invest in bridging the digital divide among the nation's public high school students."

Source: INQUIRER.net
First Posted 10:16:00 09/06/2009

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