Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is calling for a Senate investigation into the implementation of two laws that would help ensure reliable internet and continuous learning during emergencies.
These are the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act (Republic Act No. 10929) and the Open Distance Education Act (Republic Act No. 10650).
By tabling Senate Resolution (SR) No. 59, Gatchalian seeks to determine the effectiveness of the two laws in educational institutions and centers of learning.
The legislator also seeks to identify and resolve gaps, problems and implementation challenges.
Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Basic Education Committee, said implementing these laws remains a problem, especially when the Covid-19 pandemic has led to the suspension of face-to-face classes and the passage to distance education.
The Law on Free Internet Access in Public Places was enacted to provide free Internet access to Internet service in public places across the country.
It also provides free Wi-Fi Internet access in public basic education institutions, alternative learning system centers, state universities and colleges, and Technical Education Authority technological institutions and Skills Development (TESDA), among others.
However, based on the Free Public Wi-Fi Monitoring Dashboard, at least 945 public basic education schools, or only about 2% of public schools nationwide, have free public Wi-Fi. to January 29, 2022.
The Open Distance Learning Act, on the other hand, institutionalized open distance learning (ODL) to further expand and democratize access to quality higher education.
The law mandates the use of distance education as an appropriate, effective and efficient system for delivering quality higher and technical education services in the country. To date, there are at least only 10 reputable higher education institutions offering distance education.
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