Only about “10 percent” of students in the province’s municipalities have internet connection, said a Department of Education (DepEd) official amid the country’s plans to implement alternative learning methods such as virtual classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bohol Provincial Schools Division Superintendent Bianito Dagatan said that although about 20 percent of students have smartphones based on their initial survey, most of them do not have sufficient internet access due to weak or no network coverage in their areas.
Meanwhile, only “around half” of the teachers have adequate internet connections, he added.
The initial survey did not cover the province’s lone city, Tagbilaran.
According to Dagatan, the province will instead focus on the distribution of printed learning materials when classes resume on August 24.
“Although naa tay mga kabataan na naay gadgets dili nila magamit online kay walay puy klaro na signal…mao na sa among tan-aw ang atong learning na gi-adopt g’yud is more on printed materials,” he said.
Online and TV or radio broadcast learning however will not be completely discounted as these may still be utilized beside the printed method.
“Ug atong tan-awon, possible ng tulo na atong e-combine,” he said.
The DepEd has brought up the issue on connectivity to the provincial government which in turn held a dialogue with the country’s two communications networks PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecoms.
According to Dagatan, both networks have vowed to look into the areas in which network coverage is lagging.
PLDT through its wireless arm Smart Communications will be sending a team of engineers to visit the recommended sites and validate if these indeed do not have network coverage.
Still, the networks would have to gauge if these locations have sufficient subscribers for them to boost their coverage.
“Duna man pud silay mga economic factor na gikonsidera, so mao ng daghan pa silang factor na tan-awon kung asa ibutang ilang site,” Dagatan said.
Classes across the country are scheduled to resume on August 24.
But with the pandemic, these will be conducted remotely, national DepEd officials have announced in accordance with President Duterte’s call to hold off face-to-face classes until a vaccine for COVID-19 is made available. (Allen Doydora)