Amidst on-going efforts to transform the basic education sector to make it more resilient and innovative, Senator Win Gatchalian pointed to the potential of the social media platform for continuous delivery of education especially in the face of shocks like the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the Pinoy Social Media Festival held at the Lyceum of the Philippines in Manila, Gatchalian identified opportunities for social media in education. He also shared lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gatchalian cited the example of Valenzuela Live, which utilized Facebook and YouTube as a platform for learning delivery. He also shared how Valenzuela’s Nanay-Teacher Program used Facebook groups as alternative learning management systems.
To help struggling learners, Gatchalian recalled that the local government of Valenzuela distributed 23,500 tablets to the city’s poorest learners.
Moving forward, Gatchalian pressed the need for better investments in internet infrastructure nationwide. He also filed measures such as the Digital Transformation in Basic Education Act (Senate Bill No. 383) and the One Learner, One Laptop Act (Senate Bill No. 474).
“There’s an urgent need to narrow the digital divide as it hits hardest on poor learners,” Gatchalian said, citing World Bank Philippines’ 2020 COVID 19 Low Income Household Panel and Economic (HOPE) Survey which says 60% of the 25% poorest households have no access to the internet. The survey also revealed that 98% of learners from these households chose printed self-learning modules as the primary mode of learning.
According to the Digital Report 2022 on the Philippines, there were 92.05 million social media users in the Philippines at the start of 2022, which was equivalent to 82.4% of the total population. Based on Meta’s data, there were 83.85 million Facebook users in the Philippines at the start of 2022. Among Facebook users, 42% are aged 13-24 and belong to student age groups.
“That’s where social media can be used for education because half of our population between ages 13-24 are on Facebook. This is where the opportunity comes in of using Facebook or social media to reach out to those students,” said Gatchalian.