MANILA - Senator Loren Legarda underscored the importance of providing quality education for all Filipino students and helping them cope with the challenges brought about by the pandemic as she filed Senate Bill (SB) 1 or the "One Tablet, One Student Act of 2022".
The proposed measure aims to give each elementary and secondary level student in public schools, as well as those enrolled in State Universities and Colleges, a tablet to help them adapt to the online learning system being implemented by the Department of Education (DepEd) since early 2020 due to the current health crisis.
"By giving the students their much-needed device for learning, they would be able to participate effectively in their classes, and thus, we give them the opportunity to acquire more knowledge and become skilled after they graduate. It is one way of making quality education accessible to all, especially to those who cannot afford to buy their own gadgets," Legarda said in a news release on Tuesday.
The four-term senator added that students who already have their learning gadgets should instead be provided with an Internet allowance to cover the cost of connectivity.
Along with DepEd, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) shall be tasked to implement the program, determine the eligibility of students who will qualify, develop an effective distribution system, and formulate guidelines on the usage, maintenance, and accountability for the tablet.
Under SB 1, the DepEd and CHED, in coordination with the local government units through the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Department of Information and Communications Technology, shall disseminate the implementing rules and regulations for the effective implementation of the program.
While the DepEd already announced the implementation of full face-to-face classes in November, Legarda noted that the "One Tablet, One Student" program would still be necessary and beneficial as the number of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases and the positivity rate in the country has been increasing.
"The pandemic is not yet over. With the current trend in Covid-19 cases in our country and as new variants of the virus continue to emerge, we cannot guarantee that we will no longer need to revert to online learning. So, we are pushing for this bill in the Senate," she pointed out.
Legarda initially filed the proposed measure in the House of Representatives in October 2021 during her term as Antique's lone district representative.
"Every Filipino has the right to excellent education, and we are responsible for giving what is due to our people. We should allow the youth to learn and help them reach their full potential. As I always say, there is no greater investment than education to alleviate poverty and build a sustainable and progressive nation," she said. (PR)