GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/DateLine Philippines)–At least 56 public high schools in South Cotabato are now fully connected to the Internet, thanks to the local government’s continuing automation program for public schools.
South Cotabato Governor Daisy Avance-Fuentes said they now fully completed the installation of Internet connections to all but three government-run secondary schools in the province’s 10 towns and lone city through priority investments from the local government and its partner government and private institutions on various Information and Communication Technology (ICT) facilities.
“This is a major accomplishment for the province as it shows the competitiveness of our public schools in terms of exposure to various modern technologies,” the governor said.
Fuentes said such accomplishment, which is considered the first in Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao, was realized with the implementation of the Internet connectivity project for at least 23 public schools in the province earlier launched by the provincial government and various institutions backing the flagship Gearing-up Internet Literacy Access for Students or GILAS project.
GILAS is a multi-sectoral initiative composed mainly of corporations and concerned non-profit institutions that has been investing on “bridging the digital divide” among the country’s public high school students.
The project, which mainly aims to provide Internet access to all public secondary school students in the country, is currently focusing on achieving 100-percent Internet connectivity of public high schools in Mindanao.
Under the project, she said they were able to install complete Internet laboratory facilities to the 23 beneficiary-schools, some of which are located in remote areas in the province.
Fuentes said the local government has invested at least P2.72 million for the project’s implementation, which was mainly funded by combined contributions of around P2.8 million from business entities and P150,00 from civic groups that have been supporting the GILAS project.
The governor said each beneficiary received at least one year of Internet connectivity package; personal computers (PC) for schools that don’t have existing hardware; teacher training on basic Internet literacy; maintenance and troubleshooting; curriculum integration training; and post installation maintenance and setting up of help desks, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.
She said the hardware package includes a PC server, PC workstation, printer, network router and other related accessories.
Before the project’s implementation, the governor cited that at least 32 public high schools in the province already have access to the Internet while another school was scheduled for reconnection.
Fuentes said they temporarily waived the implementation of the Internet connectivity project in three schools located in remote areas in the province due to unstable or lack of electricity. Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews