Partido Federal ng Pilipinas presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. on Wednesday vowed to implement a program called the National Education Portal (NEP) to hasten the digital shift of the country’s education system.
Marcos said that if he wins the presidency in next year’s elections, he will establish the NEP as an online platform accessible to students and teachers to simplify and secure e-learning for both public and private institutions.
It will also serve as a central hub to allow students and teachers to communicate securely and provide digital learning materials, he added.
According to him, the portal will be developed collaboratively between concerned government agencies together with I.T. experts from the private sector.
Marcos stressed that the program would go hand in hand with the current administration’s Build, Build, Build program as he is also looking to integrate a digital infrastructure thrust.
He also observed that due to the onset of Covid-19 and the country’s protracted lockdowns, Internet access, particularly for students and employees consigned to their homes, has become indispensable.
Marcos lamented the plight of teachers and learners who were ill-prepared to face the challenges posed by distance learning. There were reports of teachers and students alike figuring in accidents to find better mobile internet signals.
“I feel their hardship. It has not been easy, many of the students are still struggling, they don’t have computers, tablets or even cellphones. They also have difficulty accessing the Internet, they even climb trees, roofs just to study well. We are thankful to our teachers because despite the hardship they are going through, they still have the passion to cope up with our new system. The others are really working on ways to help our students and teach well,” the PFP standard-bearer said.
Marcos said the Build Build Build program initiated by President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration is worth pursuing since it will be playing a pivotal role in the country’s post-pandemic recovery.
“We have seen that what is being done now called Build Build Build is good, the infrastructure is really important, I think I will include the digital infrastructure in Build Build Build to strengthen the Internet and make school equipment more advanced,” the former lawmaker said.
“Before Covid, the Internet was very important, so we really have to make it better now that we have Covid. I really see that we really need to have the Internet,” he added.
In Texas, US President Biden signed last March 10 the “American Rescue Plan Act,” allocating more than $7 billion to the Federal Communications Commission to improve internet connectivity, purchase devices to distribute to every student, and assist businesses affected by pandemics.
“In America, they have allocated a large budget for the Internet connection and devices of children, to improve their school facilities, maybe we should do the same here in the Philippines,” Marcos pointed out.
The PFP bet also said that he would implement initiatives to bring the country’s educational system and government learning institutions at par with global standards.
“Now it’s good that our government can lay out the plan for what we call post-pandemic, in education and even in other aspects, it’s very important to be clear, we’re gradually loosening up, well, we’re sure we’re studying this is our government,” said Marcos.
Marcos added he would also seek the support and assistance of telecom companies and internet providers to ensure the NEP becomes a success.
“If we are lucky, we will immediately contact the big telcos, and other companies to discuss the digital infrastructure. We need to solve this kind of problem in education, we can also make school equipment more digital or advanced,” said Marcos.