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Free Online Library in the Philippines

After the Covid-19 issue hit the Philippines in 2020, government organisations, well-established libraries, academic institutions, and concerned organisations started offering online library services to assist students, instructors, researchers, and citizens with their information needs.

The Department of Education (DepEd) is required to digitise all textbooks and reference books it determines are necessary for the public education of primary and secondary students under Senate Bill No. 477, also known as the Philippine Online Library Act.

These will be assembled in the envisioned Philippine Online Library, which the DepEd and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) would jointly run. Thus, the digital textbook copies will be shared between the DepEd and the National Library of the Philippines.

As an addition to the country’s current online library services, which were established during the pandemic’s breakout two years ago, Senator Win Gatchalian wants to develop a free online library for primary and secondary students.

Gatchalian, who is also the head of the Philippines’ Senate Committee on Basic Education, emphasised the importance of digital education technologies in ensuring learning continuity and bridging learning gaps caused by school disruptions.

Public libraries, one of the nation’s paths to educational resources, should remain pandemic-proof – universal and accessible – regardless of the geographic location and type of gadget used by the students, he continued.

Gatchalian cited the 2021 World Bank report, which revealed that when remote learning was deployed during the epidemic, 95.5 per cent of low-income households used paper-based learning modules and resources.

With this, the DepEd shall provide computers, laptops, and other suitable devices to all public elementary and secondary schools across the country to ensure access to digitised texts.

The Free Internet Connection in Public Places Act, also known as Republic Act 10929, requires the DICT to offer all public elementary and secondary schools free, dependable, and secure internet access.

Research by UNICEF and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) claims that as schools reopen, high, low, and no-tech innovations can help to mitigate learning losses and offer fresh resources and educational materials to reach the most marginalised children.

In the meantime, Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. stated that to serve the people effectively, create more jobs, and ensure the nation’s economic revival, the Philippines should be on par with other nations in terms of technological innovations in the digital and modern age.

He claimed that the Philippine government had gone a step further and that, in addition to being a sustainable mode of operation, it would also be the sole mode of operation for the country in the years to come.

The government hopes to explore the endless possibilities and take advantage of the many brilliant ideas that professionals must continue growth and promote new advancements in this area, to secure the nation’s economic regeneration and create more jobs.

The President claims that this effort is a natural fit for the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ three-year Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap, which encourages the digitalisation of payments to increase financial inclusion.

The strategy aims to integrate 70 per cent of Filipino adults into the official financial system by the end of the next year and to digitise at least 50 per cent of all retail transaction volume.

The programme will advance other government digitalisation initiatives in addition to offering digital banking services to local government units (LGUs).

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