The Information and Communications Technology Office of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) launched on Tuesday (Sept 22) the Technology for Education and Development (Tech4ED) Project for the digital empowerment of over 70 million unconnected Filipinos.
In line with its earlier initiative of enabling free public Wi-Fi, DOST will be establishing 42,000 technology education centres across the country. This P56 million (US$1.1 million) project is part of DOST's 'eFilipino' programme that aims to introduce digital education trainings in designated cyber hubs in rural communities.
According to the government agency, Tech4ED will help to promote grassroots development and opportunities for inclusive growth and poverty reduction by giving communities access to ICT services, non-formal education, skills training and more.
Although these centres will be built in rural areas, they will be strategically located where people flock, such as near schools and 'barangay halls' (government office which also serves as local community centres).
According to a report by the Manila Bulletin, the project appears to be off to a good start, with 350 Tech4ED centres in various municipalities in the provinces; and 500 more pledged by local government units.
Services in the Tech4Ed Centers include offerings like the alternative learning system (ALS) where out-of-school youths and adults can avail themselves of a high school diploma by enrolling in online courses; and learning English application for Pinoys (Leap), where one can improve English communication skills in preparation for the IT-BPM industry.
In addition, there will also be ICT programs to improve digital literacy, financial literacy, career development, as well as for entrepreneurs who are keen on starting their own business and using ICT to expand market reach.
Future programs to be adopted in the tech centres include the electronic assessment for Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and mobile-agri (mAgri), where farmers can access advanced agriculture-related information digitally.
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