DICT urged to distribute unused gadgets immediately

·Contributor
·3 min read
Filipino kindergarten student John Francis Colongon, 5, raises his hand to a smartphone held by his mother as he attends an online class amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tondo, Manila, Philippines, October 6, 2020. Teachers' group Alliance of Concerned Teachers is urging the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) to distribute the gadgets to teachers and students. (Photo: REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez)
Filipino kindergarten student John Francis Colongon, 5, raises his hand to a smartphone held by his mother as he attends an online class amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tondo, Manila, Philippines, October 6, 2020. Teachers' group Alliance of Concerned Teachers is urging the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) to distribute the gadgets to teachers and students. (Photo: REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez)

Distribute the unutilized brand new laptops and tablets for teachers and students to use to help resolve the deficiency in devices for learning, a teachers' group called on the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) after a report came out last week that 866 laptops and 12,482 tablets have been sitting idly in the infocomm agency for more than four months now.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines is hoping that the DICT will be able to expedite the distribution of these gadgets before the school year starts on August 22.

Sana ay maipamahagi na kaagad ngayong pasukan ang 866 laptops at 12,482 tablets na nakatambak lamang sa DICT na para naman talaga sa mga guro at mag-aaral,” Vladimer Quetua, ACT’s chairperson, said in a statement on Sunday (August 14).

(We hope that the 866 laptops at 12,482 tablets that have been sitting idly in the DICT office will be distributed come the opening of the school year.)

“It is frustrating that while gadgets for education are extremely lacking, there are gadgets that only gather dust in DICT storage, and there are outdated gadgets that are bought on exorbitant prices,” Quetua added.

He also highlighted an internal survey conducted by the ACT that only 10% of teachers are using government-issued laptops. According to them, 6% of those who use laptops provided by the government are from the regions, while the remaining 4% are from the capital region.

They also found out that of the government-issued gadgets that teachers use, 2% in the regions use those that are provided by their respective local government units (LGUs), while 6% from Metro Manila use laptops provided by the LGUs.

Meanwhile, 6% of the respondent teachers, and 4% from the National Capital Region, said that they don’t have laptops to use for teaching and other teaching-related duties.

Nasaan ang hustisya rito na ang empleyado pa ang gumagastos at nagkakautang para sa mga kagamitan sa trabaho na dapat ay ibinibigay ng employer?” the group said.

(How ludicrous can it get that employees are the ones shelling out money to use for their jobs which should’ve been provided by the employer?)

Hindi naman pinabibili ng sariling baril ang mga pulis, o ng sariling computer ang mga empleyado sa opisina, kahit mga janitor ay hindi naman pinabibili ng sariling walis, pero bakit ang mga guro ay hindi mabigyan ng kailangang gadget sa pagtatrabaho?” Quetua questioned.

(Police forces aren’t asked to buy their own guns, nor employees their own computers. Even janitors aren’t being asked to buy their own equipment for cleaning, but why can’t the government provide the teachers with the gadgets that they need for work?)

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said on Sunday in a report by the Inquirer that the procurement service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) was able to purchase cheaper but better laptops before and after it procured the controversial “slow and pricey” gadgets worth P2.4 billion for the Department of Education (DepEd).

“Before and after the questioned procurement of laptops, PS-DBM purchased laptops with better specifications at a lower price,” Pimentel said. “So they already have the knowledge bout the prices before [they procured the laptops for DepEd]. And they ‘discovered’ a better deal after.”

Pimentel said that his office is collecting more information about the previous transactions of the PS-DBM as he is seeking a Senate inquiry into the deal.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates.

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