Tingog party-list Reps. Yedda Marie Romualdez and Jude Acidre have filed a bill seeking to establish the Philippine Online Library that will house digitized copies of all textbooks and reference books necessary for the public education of elementary and secondary students.
House Bill (HB) No. 1582 or the proposed Philippine Online Library Act provides that the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) jointly manage the Online Library.
“This bill seeks to establish the Philippine Online Library and mandate the digitizing of all textbooks necessary for the public education of elementary and secondary students to ensure access to and availability of learning materials and references,” Romualdez and Acidre said on the measure which is now pending before the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has manifested the significance of digital technology, especially in the lives of children, serving as an important tool for their education, socialization, expression, and inclusion. Schools shifted to online learning and offices and workplaces moved to remote work,” they said.
“Thus, digitizing textbooks and references and the creation of this online library will match the pace of emerging technologies. This will enable the students to have an enhanced learning experience, ensure that they are skilled in using computers, and have equal access to the increasingly digitized world.”
Section 4 of the proposed measure requires DepEd to ensure access to the digitized copies of textbooks by providing computers, laptops, orappropriate wherewithal to all primary and secondary public schools nationwide.
Similarly, to ensure access to digitized copies of textbooks, the DICT shall provide fast and reliable internet access to each primary and secondary public school.
“In order to offset expenses related to the procurement of computers, laptops, or appropriate wherewithal necessary for the immediate execution of the provisions of this Act, national government agencies, government-owned and controlled corporations, and other government financial institutions which shall procure new computers shall endorse their old units to the Department of Information and Communications Technology to check if the computers can still be used for the intent of this Act and afterward shall be given to the Department of Education for deployment to primary and secondary public schools nationwide.”
Romualdez and Acidre proposed an initial P500 million in funding for the program, while an annual P100 million was proposed to be included in the annual budget of DepEd to make sure that the equipment and internet connection of public schools for the purpose of measure will be maintained.