April 19, 2021 – The Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) have officially joined forces to strengthen the delivery of education through broadcast, connectivity, and digital security.
Under the leadership of Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones and ICT Secretary Gregorio Ballesteros Honasan II, the two agencies have signed two Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to establish the Public Education Network (PEN), which will fast track digital connectivity of all public schools and DepEd offices nationwide and allow learners to have wider access to DepEd TV, DepEd Commons and other learning platforms.
This monumental collaboration is aligned with the directive of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during his 2020 State of the Nation Address (SONA). Accordingly, this is a direct response of DepEd and DICT to address the adverse effects and complications that the pandemic has imposed on basic education.
The PEN program is spearheaded by the Information and Communications Technology Service-Education Technology Unit (ICTS-EdTech) headed by Director Abram Y.C. Abanil, under the Administration Strand led by Undersecretary Pascua and Assistant Secretary Salvador Malana III. It is part of the Digital Rise Program under the Public Schools of the Future (PSOF) Framework of the Administration Strand under the leadership of Secretary Briones.
The partnership details DICT’s provision of immediate assistance to DepEd, including advocacy for the presence of ICT service providers in public school premises and other public places, provision of online resources, materials, and systems for educational use, and coordination with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), among others.
Meanwhile, as part of its medium to long-term commitment, DICT will also augment future satellite capacity of the DepEd for students from Last Mile Schools to access digital education and provide data transport service using fiber-optic network under the GovNet and Microwave towers.
In addition, the two agencies will also work together to determine suitable real estate properties owned or under the administration of DepEd for use as sites or locations for the Shared Passive Telecommunications Tower Infrastructure (SPTTI) initiative of DICT.
Amidst the challenges of the present, the national government is stepping up and embracing the advantages of digital transformation to support education delivery and build an enabling and innovative future for the Filipino people.