To sustain another year of inclusive learning, wireless services provider Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and Save the Children Philippines jointly donated four School-in-a-Bag packages for learning communities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Under the partnership, four portable digital classrooms will be deployed to schools in Lumba-Bayabao, Lanao Del Sur, including an Integrated Madrasah. Madrasah Education is a comprehensive program in public and private schools that aims to provide basic education curriculum within the context of Muslim culture, customs, traditions, and interests through the integration of the Arabic Language and Islamic Values Education (ALIVE).
A #LearnSmart initiative, the School-in-a-Bag is designed to provide access to technology, connectivity, content, and disaster-resilient learning strategies even for schools in remote areas without electricity. Each water-resistant backpack carries a laptop for the teacher, 20 tablets for students to access award-winning interactive applications even if offline, and a Smart LTE pocket WiFi which teachers can use to download additional content wherever there is power and connectivity. The total value of each School-in-a-bag is P200,000 or approximately USD4,100.
“The deployment supports Save the Children Philippines educational work in BARMM and the aspiration of our Muslim brothers and sisters toward inclusive development,” Smart Community Partnerships VP Darwin F. Flores said.
Save The Children Philippines has been providing life-changing support to the most deprived and marginalized children in the last four decades, to ensure children have a fulfilled life.
Atty. Alberto Muyot, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Philippines, said access to information and communication technology (ICT) is critical to address the digital divide between children in highly urbanized areas and those from poor households and living in remote and conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.
The partnership will support Save the Children’s implementation of the “Safe Schools of the Future” program in BARMM areas.
“We are honored to partner with Smart Communications in fulfilling the rights of children to have access to inclusive and quality education especially during the massive school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Muyot said.
Teacher beneficiaries of Smart and Save the Children’s School-in-a-Bag packages will also be trained on the Central Visayan Institute Foundation-Dynamic Learning Program (CVIF-DLP), a pandemic-resilient strategy that supports distance learning and works in both online and offline delivery modalities. Supported by Smart and PLDT-Smart Foundation (PSF) for over a decade, CVIF-DLP is one of only three supplemental learning materials being endorsed by the Department of Education (DepEd Philippines) for school year 2020-2021. Ready-to-use Junior and Senior High School CVIF-DLP Learning Activity Sheets can be downloaded for free from DepEd Commons at www.commons.deped.gov.ph.
Through various initiatives implemented with its parent company, the country’s largest integrated telco PLDT, Smart deployed 86 School-in-a-Bag packages in 2020. True to the company’s commitment to helping the Philippines attain the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, with SDG #4: Quality Education as a key area, education continues to be the flagship CSR program throughout the PLDT Group, with a strong emphasis on digital literacy.
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