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Solon files bill for laptops of K-12 students in public schools

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has filed a bill seeking to provide laptops for K to 12 students enrolled in public schools.

In Senate Bill No. 474 or the “One Learner, One Laptop Act” students can expect to receive quality digital education and distance learning under all circumstances.

He said that learners have been struggling since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic due to lack of devices and unstable internet connection as school transitioned to remote learning.

“The intent of this priority measure is to ensure that all learners will be able to continue with their education even in the midst of emergency situations or disasters that could disrupt face-to-face classes,” Gatchalian said in a statement on Saturday.

“Even if physical interactions are already in full swing, these devices would still be needed for any school work,” he added.

Also, the measure stated that the Department of Education (DepEd) secretary, through the Bureau of Learning Resources, shall formulate the policies, standards, and guidelines for the implementation and management of providing one laptop for every public school students.

Likewise, it mandates the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to accelerate the installation, deployment, and activation of free public Wi-Fi in all public basic education institutions.

Gatchalian said this is consistent with the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act or Republic Act No. 10929 to ensure reliable and secure Internet connection for digital and distance learning.   

The senator said the DICT will escalate the building of the national infrastructure for information and communications technology (ICT), while the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) will be mandated to identify locations for the construction of telecommunications towers, giving priority to missionary areas which remain unconnected, unserved, or underserved by Public Telecommunication Entities (PTEs).

He, meanwhile, said the PTEs will have two years to complete the building of the targeted number of towers when the proposed measure takes effect.

The measure also aims that students will receive subsidized data plans if their parents are listed as beneficiaries under the “Listahanan” of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). —LBG, GMA News