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A bill requests that schools offer free Wi-Fi more quickly.

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Senator Sherwin Gatchalian wants to hasten the rollout of free Wi-Fi in all public schools across the country, noting that only 860, or 1.8% of the 47,421 state-funded institutions, have access five years after the enactment of an enabling law.

The Digital Transformation in Basic Education Act, Senate Bill No. 383, will accelerate the development of the country’s information and communications technology infrastructure (ICT).

The National Telecommunications Commission will be required by the measure to choose sites where telecommunications towers can be built. Priority will be given to missionary regions that are still disconnected, underserved, or unserved.

In August 2017, the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act (Republic Act No. 10929) was approved.

After witnessing the Dec. 13 unveiling of the Pinaglabanan Elementary School’s Free Fiber Optic Internet Connection and Free Wifi Program in San Juan City, Vice President and Secretary of Education Sara Duterte also urged for free internet in all public schools.

She praised the municipality for “the successful implementation of this initiative, which aspires to improve the city’s public education system through better access to information technology.”

The Covid-19 outbreak, according to Gatchalian, chair of the Committee on Basic Education, emphasized the digital divide, which primarily impacted students from lower-income households.

Only 40% of low-income families surveyed by the World Bank in 2021 had access to the internet, and 95.5 percent of the same research subjects used learning materials and modules that were printed on paper.

The Department of Science and Technology will support DepEd and the Department of Information and Communications Technology under Gatchalian’s bill.

The initiative also aims to advance the basic education sector in the direction of the Fourth Industrial Revolution by strengthening all schools’ ICT capabilities to implement distance learning.

In a press statement on Saturday, Gatchalian stated, “Bahagi ng ating pagpapatatag sa sektor ng edukasyon ang pagtiyak na bawat paaralan ay magkakaroon ng libreng internet para sa paghahatid ng dekalidad na edukasyon (Part of our efforts to strengthen the sector is by guaranteeing that schools

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