Connecting Students to Education amidst the Pandemic

Project Objectives

To provide equal opportunities to students of the Center for Positive Futures (CPF), a school for economically disadvantaged families, to engage in the teaching and learning processes effectively and efficiently in this time of general community economic dislocation due to the pandemic as well as considering the inherent disadvantage of students due to their socio-economic status. To upgrade the technical capabilities of the school to provide for effective and efficient teaching and learning processes during this time of pandemic but which is also needed strategically by the school. To ensure that students who have no gadgets (around 10-15 students out of a total of 350 students) or who borrow gadget from a parent or sister during free time shall be given access to a gadget in this time where in the school is required to provide distance learning in as much as schools are not allowed to offer face-to-face learning because of the pandemic. To provide an allowance to teachers for home internet use.

Project Description

The project shall provide for the upgrading of connectivity, equipment, networking of hardware and accessing software for the school to meet the challenges of online distance learning, forced upon by the circumstances of the pandemic but which can also be used by the school on a strategic basis for its teaching and learning program. The upgrading in connectivity can come in the form of increase in internet bandwidth, providing additonal computers for use by teachers in school, subscription to a video call platform and purchase of softwares for the efficiency of online teaching and learning and for assessment purposes such as subscriptions to an online library facility, an external high school library source, online science experiments website, and interactive assessment portal.

This project shall also loan out or provide cellphones or tablets to students who have no gadgets for their use in online teaching and learning, which they can pay forward in terms of services to the community and in some cases, in cash, for the partial cost. The kind of service may be in the form of tutoring younger students, peer tutoring, leading a peer counseling group, participating in a tech-support group or reading support group. The exact service in exchange for the use of the gadget shall be defined in an agreement between the school, parent and student. The service to be provided shall take into consideration the capacities of the student, limitations of movement due to the pandemic and the needs of the school or general community. If students pay in cash, the cash shall be allotted for future students who may not have gadgets.

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Another project component is to provide internet support for the teachers who may work from home partly.These project components seek to complement the resources the school already have including Microsoft 365 for Education given by Microsoft for free to the school being a nonstock, nonprofit organization, one part-time programming-technical support and one fulltime technical support, teachers who are teaching online through two modalities (using the Microsoft Teams and for those with gadget challenges, using Messenger), three computers available for the teachers to use (but with limited storage and capabilities), free but limited software use like the school has an online library storage good to record only 2000 books (even if the school’s physical library has 3000 books), and the school conducted or availed of training to upgrade the online teaching skills and general teaching skills of the teachers.

Even if the Center for Positive Futures is a school for the economically disadvantaged, students pay a counterpart to enroll in school (ranging from US $75-$200 per school year). However, due to the pandemic that started February last year, students have not been able to pay their final fees for last schoolyear and for this year, a very small number of students can afford to shell out for their enrollment fee. However, the school accepted all students who want to study even without paying the fees for last year or the enrollment fees for this year. The school is still sustainable due to expected subsidy from the government which will arrive in January 2021. It is still liquid and is able to pay the teachers’ salaries and the administrative bills mainly due to the consideration of its creditor, an NGO, the Foundation for Sustainable Societies, Inc.. It has offered to defer loan payment until the school receives its government subsidy on January 2021. However, the capacity of the school, a nonstock, nonprofit organization, to put savings to school improvement which it does every summer (April-May of the year) was put on hold due to the pandemic and the financial effect it had on the school.

This project will help the school pursue its programs effectively and efficiently. The school is doing its best to provide for the teaching and learning needs of the students amid the pandemic but financial support from DotAsia and technical support from PH Domain Foundation shall definitely boost its capabilities. The technical support from PH Domain Foundation will come in the form of assessing our bandwidth needs, hardware requirements and gadget needs of the students. The Foundation will be a donor-provider of technical assistance and not a paid supplier of bandwidth or hardware.

  1. The school shall have sufficient bandwidth to serve students even during face-to-face classes.
  2. The school shall have two additional computers with specs needed for use in online learning or face-to-face learning given the programs and apps necessary.
  3. The school shall be able to subscribe to an online library storage, an online library resource, one or two interactive assessment apps, and one science experiment website.
  4. The school maintain at least two Zoom accounts for use when external resource persons are needed for classes or faculty meetings or for webinars.
  5. All students of CPF High School of Banaba shall have access to gadgets for their online learning through the pay-it-forward scheme.
  6. Teachers shall be given an internet allowance for this school year.

Project Stakeholders

DotAsia Organisation is a not-for-profit, community membership-based organization headquartered in Hong Kong. It is the Registry Operator for the .Asia top-level-domain (TLD).

The Vision of DotAsia is to create a globally visible domain that embodies the successful, cooperative atmosphere established within the Pan-Asia and Asia-Pacific Internet community to accelerate the overall growth of the region.

The Mission of DotAsia are:

  • To sponsor, establish and operate a regional Internet namespace with global recognition and regional significance, dedicated to the needs of the Pan-Asia and Asia-Pacific Internet community.
  • To reinvest surpluses in socio-technological advancement initiatives relevant to the Pan-Asia and Asia-Pacific Internet community; and,
  • To operate a viable not-for-profit initiative that is a technically advanced, world-class TLD registry for the Pan-Asia and Asia-Pacific community.

The PH Domain Foundation is the social outreach arm of the PH Domain Registry (dotPH). It is a SEC-registered Internet-based non-stock, non-profit organization seeking to provide free unlimited email service to people in remote rural areas towards the upliftment of the quality of life in these communities.

It was set up in August 1999 by a small group of IT professionals from the E-Mail Company (EMC) and spearheaded by the Philippines’ Domain Registrar, dotPH.

Equipped with the technical capabilities and technology to connect remote areas with both email and Internet access, and conscious of the endless possibilities of the Internet in changing people’s lives, the Ph Domain Foundation seeks to popularize the use of Internet email in the Philippine countryside as a tool for empowerment. It has partnered with local rural area-based groups – NGO, PO, civic organization, religious, educational or media institutions. In recent years, it has been working with educational institutions

The Center for Positive Futures High School of Banaba is located in Brgy. Banaba, San Mateo, Rizal. It is a school for economically-disadvantaged school children which has been in existence since the academic year 2014-2015. It is committed to citizenship-building, community building, and values formation. It has been involved with the Generation Global, an inter-school program to build dialogue and dialogue skills among students from over 30 countries since 2012. It is also a work immersion partner of the PH Domain Foundation for its IT students.

With the pandemic and based on government guidelines, the school has been providing education to students through Microsoft Teams (for those with better connectivity and gadgets) and through Messenger (for those with limited access to internet data and/or those without proper gadgets to support the Teams video and educational platform.

This project, Connecting High School Students to Teaching and Learning amid COVID Pandemic seeks to assist the students, teachers and the school’s capacity to respond to the challenges brought about the pandemic as well as to develop long-term sustainability in developing its online educational platform even if students can already meet face-to-face.

Year End Report