DepEd Computerization Program (Day 20)by Rey Laguda
(This is the 20th day of 50-day journey of DepEd Undersecretary Rey Laguda as being serialized here with his permission, culled from his Facebook account - Blogger/owner)
I had mentioned in a previous post that the Department of Education ramped up its investments for the DepED Computerization Program (DCP) for schools. In 2015 and 2016, the budget has now reached P6 billion per year. But it is also important to highlight different components in the implementation that strengthened our approach to computerization.
The deployment strategy was revised to reflect changes in assumptions and targets. DepEd set an ambitious target of covering all elementary and high schools with a 5-year replacement period. Schools without electricity were given allocation based on a configuration agreed upon with the Department of Energy. We also indexed provision to enrollment where bigger enrollment receive more packages based on a defined ratio (e.g. one package of computers per six sections).
To date, 70% of 38,718 elementary schools have received computer packages from DepEd and other sources while deliveries are ongoing for 15% of the elementary schools. Of the 8,161 high schools as of 2016, 92% have received computer packages. Included in this balance of schools without computer packages, are more than 5,000 unenergized elementary and high schools. It is hoped that a successful procurement will be completed for these unenergized schools in 2016. Almost half of the elementary schools will be receiving replacement because of the 5-year replacement rule or receiving augmentation because of the package:section ratio. About 40% of the high schools will also be receiving replacement or augmentation packages. These are all currently being delivered this year.
The balance is under procurement including replacement and/or augmentation for about half of the schools because computers are more than 5 years old and/or higher enrollment. Even as the number of high schools increase, we have provided computer packages to 92% of 8,161 high schools and about 40% of these will be receiving replacement and/or augmentation packages soon. Included in the balance of elementary and high schools that have not received computer packages are about 5,000 unenergized schools.
Package configurations were defined for kinder to 3, grades 4 to 6, 7 to 10, and 11 to 12. Kinder to 3 would receive a laptop and projector for every six sections. Grades 4 to 6 would receive 7 terminals per six sections plus another set of laptop/projector. This has recently been increased to a range of 14 to 28 terminals per package. Grades 7 to 10 ( junior high school) would receive 50 computers for every eight sections. While Grades 11 to 12 (senior high school) would receive 45 computers per 5 sections and those offering certain programs will be receiving specialized computers and software.
As the program expanded, Information Technology Officer (ITO) positions were created in the division and regional offices. Previously, there was only a designated ICT Coordinator assigned to existing personnel who had other functions to fulfill as well. Today, the ITO actively participates in validating recipients and in the deployment. Considering deliveries are made to thousands of schools every year, having people on the ground to assist and monitor deployment is critical.
There is much more ground to cover if we are to strengthen the DCP. There should be discussion about eWaste and proper disposal. The planning process for configurations must have a tighter link to curriculum requirements. There should be thorough review of procurement strategies and methods. Integrity and transparency of the whole program must continue to be safeguarded and emphasized considering the value and volume of procurement.
What is clear though is that the National Government has made a clear statement in supporting the provision of ICT infrastructure for our learners in schools. The government's program doesn't end here and must always be complemented with efforts to improve utilization - providing learner access, enabling teachers maximize use, emphasis on appropriate technology (not necessarily newest and high technology), and understanding total cost of ownership and maintenance.