The Department of Education (DepEd) and STI Education Services Group, Inc. (STI ESG) signed an agreement that will equip students with ICT literacy through hands-on trainings and specialized curriculum to be taught in public elementary and secondary schools nationwide.
In the agreement, the STI Mobile School is an innovative approach and auxiliary training facility for DepEd schools, providing students with a foundation on computer literacy and pertinent ICT tools that will be relevant when they pursue higher education.
In her message, Secretary Leonor Magtolis-Briones expressed her excitement for the deployment of mobile schools in remote areas. “This partnership allows us to advance at an exponential rate, with a focus on technology that will capacitate both our learners and teachers,” she said.
STI faculty members will train students with applicable learning modules developed by STI in identified DepEd schools. These modules include computer concepts, application software, basic coding and programming, mobile app development, multimedia and animation tools, audio editing, and movie presentation, among others.
STI ESG Vice Chairman and CEO Monico V. Jacob noted that its core strength of delivering ICT education in the country led to an advocacy aimed to address the pressing need to provide computer learning and connectivity in distant communities. In 2007, the STI Foundation launched a program called Driving Education Where IT Matters.
“Our mobile schools act as our extended classrooms. We reach out and we deliver information technology classes to students and teachers who need better access to computers and internet especially to far flung communities, which also plays a part in fulfilling our duty to make education accessible,” Jacob said.
There are six STI Mobile Schools equipped with state-of-the-art computer laboratory with internet access, 24 multimedia computers each, LCD monitors, sound system, and other top-of-the-line computer equipment. Since its inception, the six STI Mobile Schools have already reached 1,113 sites and has trained 147,222 elementary and high school students, teachers, and other individuals nationwide.
STI will also conduct trainings among IT personnel of DepEd schools on computer laboratory management and will deploy technicians to assist DepEd in the monitoring and maintenance of computer units.
Present in the signing were Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis-Briones, STI ESG Chairman of the Executive Committee Eusebio Tanco, STI ESG Vice Chairman and CEO Monico Jacob, STI ESG VP for Communications Elbert de Guzman, STI ESG AVP for Academics Aisa Hipolito, STI Foundation Executive Director Connie Andrada-Sablay, Undersecretary for Administrative Service Alain Pascua, Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Dina Ocampo, Assistant Secretary and Chief of Staff Atty. Nepomuceno Malaluan, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and Alternative Learning System G.H. Ambat, and DepEd External Partnerships and Linkages Director Margarita Ballesteros.
STI also collaborates with DepEd to reach out-of-school-youths who aspire to finish their secondary education through the Alternative Learning System (ALS) program. The ALS sessions are held every Saturday and employ blended and collaborative modes of instruction (face-to-face instructions), e-learning materials (eSkwela), and performance-based assessment.
STI provides physical space in its campuses nationwide as community learning centers in the delivery of the ALS. Aside from the classrooms, STI shares necessary computer units and other equipment and offers manpower assistance in ALS sessions on Information Technology.
According to UNESCO report, the Philippines has a 1.46 million out-of-school population. “This sad reality has driven us to become active in helping out DepEd’s ALS program because we want to contribute to lowering that number and educating as many Filipinos as we can,” Jacob concluded.