Introduced by Representative JOEY SARTE SALCEDA
AN ACT ESTABLISHING A SCHOOL OF THE FUTURE IN TECHNOLOGY (SOFT) PROVIDING FUNDS THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
Be it Enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress Assembled:
SEC. 1. Short Title. – This Act Shall be known as the “School of the Future Act (SOFA) of 2018”.
SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. – The State gives the highest priority to quality education and shall take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all. Accordingly, the 1987 Constitution makes it a policy of the State to protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels. Towards this end, the State shall harness all resources, including technological processes and tools, in order to facilitate teachers learning and teaching processes to enhance the performance of students and teachers. It shall harness technological innovations to give every Filipino ample opportunity, regardless of social and economic status, affordable access to high quality education.
SEC. 3. Principal Objectives. – The School of the Future in Technology (“SOFT”) contemplate under this Act aims to:
a. Allow Filipino students to gain access to quality education from premier learning centers and the vast academic resources available online;
b. Provide Filipino students a more economical but effective, alternative to traditional in-campus formal education;
c. Provide equal opportunities for access to high quality education to all irrespective of socio-economic status or political platforms;
d. Prepare the present generation of Filipino youth to the emerging Fourth Industrial Revolution and socio-economic realities being shaped by shifting employment demographic, cultural and other internal and external forces which may be spurr by fast-paced technological progress; and
e. Help students and teachers to become responsible digital learners that willing to contribute to the overall development and progress of the nation.
SEC. 4. Establishment of the School of the Future in Technology (SOFT). – In accordance with the declared policy as set forth in Sec. 2 hereof, there is hereby created a School of the Future in Technology (SOFT) in all public schools at basic education cycle (between preschool and K to 12) insofar as it may be practicable under existing conditions taking into account the availability of mainstream technology. The SOFT shall be established by the Department of Education (DepEd), which shall properly and regularly carry out the programs, projects and other initiatives of SOFT.
SEC. 5. Program Structure, Components and Sequencing. SOFT development should begin with mandating teachers training or retraining program.
5.1. Training of Teaching Instructors. To ensure that teaching instructors of the SOFT are well equipped with the right competencies, DepEd shall implement teaching programs to develop computer skills, use of instructional aids with technology and other programs for the development of necessary aptitudes and competencies that will enable them to effectively and efficiently perform their tasks under the SOFT.
5.2. Hybrid Intranet Connectivity. DepEd, in collaboration with DITC and other concerned agencies, shall establish its own stable and reliable intranet connectivity in all public schools.
5.3. Personal Laptop Units. Each student shall be provided a laptop at grade 4, another in Grade 8, and another in Grade 11, to facilitate the learning process.
5.4. Digital Classrooms. There shall be a digital classroom equipped with digital board, and such other digital tools and devices.
5.5. Training Program for Students. Public schools shall offer a hands-on training program to allow students , particularly the marginalized and the disadvantaged, to acquire the necessary skills in the use of technology for them to fully participate in the SOFT.
SEC. 6. Authority of the Secretary to Enter into Cooperative Arrangements. The Secretary of the Department of Education is hereby granted the authority to enter into cooperative and collaborative arrangements with the other government institutions, local government units and other public or non-profit private entities for the proper and effective implementation of this Act.
SEC. 11. Financial Assistance to the Marginalized and the Disadvantaged. To give the marginalized and the disadvantaged students an equal opportunity to participate fully in the SOFT. The DepEd shall formulate a program extending financial assistance to the marginalized and disadvantaged students.
SEC. 12. Appropriations. The DepEd shall immediately include SOFT in their respective programs, incorporating a budget for the implementation of this Act, to be included in the Annual Appropriations Act.
SEC. 13. Separability Clause. If any provision or part hereof is held invalid or unconstitutional, the remainder of the law not otherwise affected shall remain valid and subsisting.
SEC. 14. Repealing Clause. All laws, decrees, executive orders, rules and regulations contrary to or inconsistent with the provision of this Act, is hereby repealed, modified or amended accordingly.
SEC. 15. Effectivity Clause. This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.
Last November 20, 2018, Congressman Joey Salceda of Albay’s 2nd District visited me in DepEd. The honorable legislator was following up school building projects in his district. In the course of our discussion, I presented to him draft of the “Our Dreams and Direction.” It was in that very meeting that Usec Anne Sevilla pitched the title “Schools of the Future” at the insistence of Congressman Salceda to make the title sexier, with high impact and a brand. Eventually the title became “Public Schools of the Future” or PSOF, to distinguish it from an earlier brand used by a past administration.
We are very grateful for Congressman Salceda for drafting the bill “Schools of the Future Act of 2018” that essentially features the DepEd Digital Rise Aspirations embodied in PSOF. We now have a solid legislative support to undertake DepEd’s ITC programs. Thank you, sir!Usec Alain Pascua