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Last Mile schools to get Internet, power

Neil Alcober



DepEd is introducing blended learning that includes online teaching when the school year resumes in August. (DepEd image)

Remote schools will be provided with Internet access and electricity, the Department of Education (DepEd) has said.

“Naipahayag na ng Pangulo ang unang phase ng Public Education Network, at kabilang sa unang mga public schools na magkakaroon ng internet access ang ating mga Last Mile Schools,” DepEd Undersecretary Alain Pascua said.

Pascua added that Last Mile schools will also be prioritized in the rural electrification program by being provided with solar panels or be connected to the closest grid available.

“Habang patungo tayo sa new normal, nananatiling prayoridad pa din sa DepEd na magkaroon ng parehas na oportunidad ang bawat mag-aaral, nasa siyudad man siya o nasa malayong barrio,” Pascua said.

Pascua admitted that the Last Mile Schools Program’s budget was reduced as the country fights the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic but assured that the DepEd will continue to address the gaps in resources and facilities of schools that are located in geographically isolated and disadvantaged and conflict-affected areas.

Last mile schools are those with less than four classrooms, usually makeshift and nonstandard ones; no electricity; no funds for repairs or new construction projects in the last four years; and a travel distance of more than one hour away from the center, accessible only through difficult terrain.

Likewise, these are schools with multi-grade classes, with less than five teachers, and a population of less than 100 students, more than 75 percent of whom are indigenous peoples.

Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte reported in his 14th weekly report to the Congress that DepEd is procuring Internet connectivity worth P700 million, and is expected to complete it in 10 months.

p: wjg