CITING difficulties in getting the student population of Baguio to properly participate in blended distance learning, the Department of Education (DepEd) Baguio City Schools Division (BCSD) is planning on procuring and distributing P45 million worth of gadgets to learners in the city.
BCSD Superintendent Marie Carolyn Verano revealed that the department is currently hashing out the procurement for the P45 million worth of tablets with the local government of the city, with plans to get the project rolling before the start of the next academic year.
The funding for the mass purchase comes from both the general education fund and special education fund that the BCSD has access to, in coordination with the Baguio City government.
While the final amount of procured tablets has yet to be finalized, Verano said that the current going price that the BCSD has managed to negotiate for puts the cost per tablet at less than P10,000 per unit, half of initial estimates.
“Initially, when we were planning, it was pegged at 20,000 per tablet, but more offers came in, and the specifications are appropriate with the DepEd guidelines, so the price has gone down and we can get more units,” Verano said.
The tablets are intended to be loaned out to the 60,000 students of Baguio City, prioritizing those who are unable to acquire such electronics for online and blended learning by themselves.
“It will truly be a big help whether there is pandemic or no pandemic, because we now need gadgets for the education of the children, for those in the ALS (Alternative Learning System), and even for the teachers and other workers,” Verano said.
She also said that the move is also intended to reduce the reliance on printed modules and connect more learners with non-module based learning, citing difficulties with printed module production and distribution as well as practicality.
“Consider that when the module has been printed and given, it cannot be used the following school year. However, the gadget, which already includes the titles of books needed and the activities and the lessons per subject area which can be loaded into the tablet, can be reused,” Verano said.
According to Verano, the reliance on printed modules requires funding for constant duplication and distribution, while the demand for materials for printed modules across multiple local governments strain the availability of supplies and ease of production.
She also mentioned that for online-based learning, a continued obstacle observed by the DepEd in its implementation is the lack of access to appropriate gadgets among students, and Internet connectivity.