May 10, 2021 – In its continuous build-up of the Public Education Network (PEN), the Department of Education (DepEd) has provided e-learning gadgets to learners and teachers of various regions in Northern Luzon.

During the EduAksyon sa Norte virtual visit on April 29, the Department turned over 2,972 smartphones and 82 laptops to selected learners and teachers from Regions 1, 2, 3, and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

“[Ang mga inisiyatibong] ito ay paghahanda nating lahat sa tinatawag nating Public Education Network na kung saan ang lahat ng eskwelahan, lahat ng nga opisina ng DepEd ay iko-connect natin sa pamamagitan ng iba’t ibang mga teknolohiya,” said Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua.

PEN is the Department’s program to fast-track the digital connectivity of all public schools and DepEd offices nationwide and allows learners to have wider access to DepEd TV, DepEd Commons, and other learning platforms. Last April 16, DepEd partnered with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to strengthen education delivery through broadcast, connectivity, and digital security via the PEN program.

Furthermore, the said donation was also conducted to help the learners, especially the student-leaders, facilitate and actualize academic and co-curricular activities and student-oriented projects and initiatives online.

After the formal ceremony, the Information and Communications Technology Service (ICTS) conducted a training workshop for the teachers and ICT coordinators on the e-book development using Kotobee and AppsGeyser on April 29-30.

Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones, during her speech in the said program, highlighted the transition of the education sector to technology and the need to prioritize the last miles schools on this initiative.

“I keep on saying that with or without the COVID-19 pandemic, we are already moving towards technology. It is not something that is isolated from the rest of the country and the rest of the world. All other agencies are moving towards the use of technology for various reasons,” said Secretary Briones.

“Our priorities are very clear. We have to give priority to the Last Mile Schools, to the schools which are in the greatest need of these gadgets,” she added.

DepEd-CAR received 1,218 smartphones and 34 laptops for 1,218 learners and 75 teachers, while DepEd-Ilocos accepted the 394 smartphones and 13 laptops for their 394 learners and 27 teachers.

On the other hand, the Cagayan Valley region received 727 smartphones for learners and 18 laptops for 42 teachers, while Central Luzon Regional Office accepted 633 smartphones and 17 laptops.

Leading the distribution of gadgets were the Director of the Bureau of Learner Support Services (BLSS) Lope B. Santos III and Chief of the Youth Formation Division (YFD) Adolf P. Aguilar.

This initiative and the PEN program is spearheaded by the Information and Communications Technology Service headed by Director Abram Y.C. Abanil, under the Administration Strand led by Undersecretary Alain Del B. Pascua and Assistant Secretary Salvador Malana III. It is part of the Public Schools of the Future (PSOF) Framework of the Administration Strand under the leadership of Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones.