Education is one of the sectors that has been affected dramatically by the pandemic. Aside from the threat of Covid-19, students, families, and educators face other challenges such as limited to no internet connection and expensive Internet data costs. To reach more students even in remote areas, the Philippine Cable and Telecommunications Association (PCTA) has partnered with the Department of Education (DepEd) and Knowledge Channel to provide easier access to students through televised learning materials that will be aired on TV for students.
Together, the PCTA member-cable operators are serving 75% of the total cable TV subscribers in the Philippines.
“Many Filipino students living in remote areas are constrained by the accessibility and speed of Internet connection, and the high cost of data to stay connected. Learning then begins to feel like a difficult chore, and a hurdle to overcome. Yet, these households have television sets even before mobile phones and laptops. We are hopeful that we ease the challenges our students face as they will now have easier access to free educational content aired in cable television channels,” said Joel Dabao, PCTA President.
The partnership was sealed through a signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the DepEd and the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) to make full use of their cable TV systems activating their member operators participation in this national effort of airing DepEd TV programs for school year 2020-21.
PCTA members have agreed to air informational materials from DepEd TV that are standardized for academic institutions nationwide. “Many remote areas will be covered by this service, and we are privileged to serve as conduits of enriched learning during this trying time. Our mission is to ensure that no Filipino student is left behind,” furthered Dabao.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones lauded the agreement during the MOU signing, as it paves the way for the department’s access to television and cable for their distance learning program, with cable provider access of up to three channels to air content produced by the DepEd Central Office. These will be a valuable resource for students who do not have access to the internet and those who cannot afford to purchase gadgets such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets.
Aside from airing DepEd TV materials, PCTA also announced a partnership with Knowledge Channel which encourages PCTA members’ cable systems to include Knowledge Channel in their line-up and air its TV-based educational content.
The Knowledge Channel has long had a strong supporter in the PCTA since 2003. Elvira Lopez-Bautista, President and Executive Director of the Knowledge Channel Foundation, highlights that television can be a powerful tool for learning and will help Filipino children absorb not only their academic lessons but, also enhance values learning through engaging content.
“My fervent wish is that through this bayanihan effort with cable providers, distance learning will become more accessible, feasible, affordable, and most of all, enjoyable for every Filipino child,” said Lopez-Bautista. “With Knowledge Channel Foundation and PCTA working together, mas masaya matuto ng bago.”
“Now, more than ever, education should be at the forefront of our concerted efforts to build a society that is resilient even in the face of a pandemic. As we forge these partnerships, we let the bayanihan spirit prevail for the common good where we all work together for the future of Filipino children,” added Dabao.
For more information about the PCTA, visit www.pcta.org.ph