UNICEF, in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd), Fundación Educación y Cooperación (Educo), and Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), turned over “School in a Bag”, a portable digital classroom package, to 50 multigrade schools in Northern Samar and Samar. It includes a laptop and Smart LTE Pocket WiFi for teachers and 10 tablets for students, educational apps in local languages, teachers guides, USB and flash drives among other technological gadgets.
Multigrade schools are located in isolated, underserved, and sparsely populated areas and serve as an important means to ensure access to good quality education in remote communities.
This distribution is part of DepEd, UNICEF and Educo’s programme, “COVID-19 Recovery Programme for Children in Multigrade Schools in the Philippines” to improve access to education. UNICEF complements this with capacity building in multigrade teaching, mentoring, and supervision as well as advocacy for parents and communities.
“We hope that the School in a Bag will support the DepEd’s distance learning modality and motivate students to keep learning despite a challenging context brought by the pandemic,” UNICEF Deputy Representative, Behzad Noubary said at the handover ceremony.
The technology-based learning package is preloaded with digital educational materials to make learning more engaging, such as gamified Learning Activity Sheets (LAS) and #Learn Smart apps for mother-tongue-based literacy and numeracy learning.
The School in a Bag will support DepEd’s distance learning modality in the midst of the pandemic. Students are expected to bring home the tablets pre-installed with learning materials to supplement their learning activities. Teachers will use the laptops to download digital learning materials and engage in online professional development training including the use of Learning Action Cell (LAC) session guides produced by DepEd with UNICEF’s support.
Together with 50 schools that received the Bag in May 2019, 100 multigrade schools in Northern Samar and Samar are now equipped with this digital learning package.
UNICEF has been supporting schools in Northern Samar and Samar to help improve children’s learning in multigrade education. Since 2017, more than 5,000 students and 300 teachers from 100 multigrade schools as well as 140 parents and community stakeholders in Northern Samar and Samar have benefited from the UNICEF initiative.