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Smart’s ‘School-in-a-Bag’ reaches last-mile schools in Negros Oriental, DepEd Secretary hails education as “solution”

by SMART Public Affairs | Oct 18, 2021
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More remote schools have been reached by Smart Communications, Inc.’s mini portable classroom School-in-a-Bag, bringing learning technologies to far-flung areas to help facilitate quality basic education in last-mile schools.
Among these schools is Dobdob Elementary School which is situated in the farthest barangay in Valencia, Negros Oriental. It is 80 kilometers from the town proper and is only accessible by 4-wheel drive vehicles.
Dobdob ES has a total of 128 students, most of whom are children of farmers. These students often arrive with their shirts drenched in sweat, because they help their parents on the farm before coming to school. But despite that, they still come to class with great vigor and enthusiasm.

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Leah Apenas, Head Teacher of Dobdob ES, shared the different struggles she and her colleagues, most especially the students face in the mountain school. 
“Every time there’s a heavy downpour, students skip classes due to the difficult and dangerous pathway. As a consolation, we prepare bring-home remedial modules so they can catch up with the lessons,” said Apenas.
In the blended turnover of SIAB to the recipient schools with the Department of Education, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones shared her humble recall of the province. 
“I grew up knowing that we are among the most deprived provinces in the country. It cannot be helped to view education as a solution, or perhaps as an end to prevalent and deep-seated poverty. I saw it myself,” shared Sec Briones.
Secretary Briones adds that education was the province’s major product, and it has produced two secretaries of education.
“We hope that this partnership will continue to give inspiration to our donors. If SIAB can have an impact to its recipient schools, then that will truly be a wonderful contribution to a province that’s so rich in history, in education, and in the quality of its people,” Sec Briones said.
Apart from Dobdob ES, three other schools were also named official beneficiaries of SIAB. These schools were Apo Elementary School, Guihulngan National High School, and Humayhumay Elementary School.
“We at PLDT and Smart, with PLDT-Smart Foundation have been working hard to rollout inclusive and accessible education solutions to our country’s last-mile schools. We hope to provide learners access to technology, connectivity, and educational content via School-in-a-Bag,” said Catherine Yap-Yang, PLDT and Smart FVP and Head of Group Corporate Communications.
With SIAB reaching Dobdob ES, additional educational resources and technologies will be helping the educators in their day-to-day lessons.
“We are excited to use Smart’s School-in-a-Bag because these technologies will no longer be foreign to the students in Dobdob. It will also help teachers in delivering the lessons in a more fun and innovative manner,” adds Apenas.
PLDT and Smart recognize quality education as a foundation in attaining sustainable development. It is committed to helping the Philippines achieve the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, with SDG #4: Quality Education as a key area, with a strong emphasis on digital literacy. 


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