The Department of Education (DepEd) reaffirmed its partnership with STI Foundation in making education accessible for all through the re-launch of STI’s Mobile School.
With “Driving Education Where IT Matters” as the focus of this partnership, the undertaking is strengthened with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between DepEd and STI Education Services Group, Inc.
“There is a saying that ‘if Muhammad does not go to the mountain, then the mountain goes to Muhammad.’ And so if the child does not go to the school, then the school will go to the child. And this is the concept of the STI, which we support very, very strongly, and which we believe in,” Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones attested.
“There are four advocacies around which the MOA signing is woven. The first one is bringing the school to the students; the second talks about reaching out to out-of-school youth (OSY); the third one talks about capacitation, for faculty and administrators of the DepEd; and the fourth, which is the emphasis, innovation and technology,” explained Atty. Monico Jacob, STI Education Services Group, Inc. CEO and Vice Chairman.
The STI Mobile School is a computer laboratory on wheels equipped with basic computer modules for public high school students and teachers. Since the agreement with DepEd in 2015, the Mobile School has catered to 126,716 elementary and high school students nationwide through its 947 sites.
The learning modules are composed of computer concepts, office productivity tools and information technology. It also has multimedia tools such as photography and image manipulation, 3D animation and video editing.
To date, the STI has six Mobile Schools, three units going around Metro Manila and nearby Luzon areas; one unit in Visayas, and two units in Mindanao. All units are equipped with school management software, surround sound system and multimedia equipment.
IT education, SHS and ALS
The STI Mobile School is an alternative and innovative way of reaching learners who do not have access to modern technology such as computers and internet connection.
“We are aware of the fact that more than five million children are out of the school system. We are also aware that our 25 million learners in the school system need to be capacitated, to be upgraded. Not only our learners but also our teachers need to be capacitated as well,” the Education Chief pointed out.
She added that the Mobile School will be exciting for the young learners to see a bus that transports not people but knowledge.
“This is where STI has been playing a very important role as a partner, as a system of learning, focusing on technology, as well as other useful professions. We are partnering with the STI so that we can move faster,” Briones stated.
Stepping up to the challenge, STI expressed its support to the Secretary’s request to have a very strong Alternative Learning System (ALS) to reach OSYs and to make available all the digital content of ALS in the STI Mobile School.
Included in the agreement’s important interventions is STI’s provision of a technician on board the bus to inspect and ensure that the computers are in good working condition, train IT officers in schools, and conduct regular reports to DepEd.
Furthermore, capacity-building activities for public school teachers on information technology and the possible inclusion of a coding component in the current curriculum beginning Kindergarten up to Senior High School (SHS) are being eyed through the agreement.