Pandemic lead the 15th Knowledge Exchange Conference into a virtual gathering. An annual event for the purpose of exchanging ideas and sharing of best practices in managing eCenters. The virtual conference for this year is a series of webinar livestreamed via YouTube from August 20 to November 26, 2020. The opening webinar entitled: “Digital Philippines” started at nine thirty in the morning and was hosted by Dr. Richard Amansec, Dir. of MISD, DOST-PCAARRD, Conference Chair, PhilCeCNet.
Webinar Day 1, 20 August 2020. There were almost 5000 registrants and over 200 participants on YouTube. The opening webinar was graced by Sec. Gregorio B. Honasan II as keynote speaker. In his video recorded message, Sec. Gregorio B. Honasan II stated that even if the Covid affected education and work sectors, still, the use of digital technology is indispensable. There will be a digital society transition by empowering the citizens with digital opportunities. And, one key component for this transition is the self-sustaining Tech4ED. Also, he mentioned that this conference is a good platform to exchange ideas, comment on areas of improvement and share solution so that all of us may benefit.
Next, is the discussion about Digital Philippines under the New Normal by Ms. Emmylou Delfin, Director of ICT Industry Development Bureau of DICT. She talked in behalf of Asec. Emmanuel Rey “Manny” Caintic. According to Dir. Emmylou Delfin, amidst the changes brought by the pandemic we’ve seen how useful ICT was and is as a mean for societies to continue their vital functions. ICT took part in the establishment of more responsive public measures for governance, education, work, health, and “Bayanihan”. Also, she emphasized that their role as partners is that they will remain as a dynamic and innovative force that is more than capable in thriving through 2020 and beyond.
Ms. Maria Lourdes Aquilizan, Director of ICT Literacy and Competency Development Bureau, Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) speaks on the topic Tech4ED Centers as Digital Transformation Centers. In her talk, she mentioned that Digital Philippines priority areas are the digital education and digital workforce. There will be different modalities such as ICT Academy, Digital Transformation Centers, and Skills Window PH. She also cited, there are 3 levels of digital transformation centers – DTC Level 1: Tech4ED Center, DTC Level 2: ICT Academy Campus, and DTC Level 3: Innovation Hub.
In the open forum, Dir. Aquilizan announced that they are coordinating with CHED to upload the materials from PHL CHED Portal (knowledge sharing for teachers) to the Tech4ED Portals. This is to use and maximize more the centers especially in these trying times due to the pandemic.
Dr. Syed Ismail Shah, Head, ITU Area Office Jakarta, ITU Area Representative for Southeast Asia and Timor-Leste talked about ICT Best Practices: Achieving Meaningful Connectivity for Digital Transformation. The main point of his discussion is all about the connectivity here in the Philippines bringing about positive changes. To tap on the untapped areas to have meaningful connectivity. He recommended on building a Smart Village – collection of services that the government can provide to the community especially to remote areas thru satellite.
In the open forum, there was a great discussion and growing interest with regards to the Smart Village here in the Philippines with the participation of the Tech4ED Centers more citizens will gain access in the digital literacy. Another thing he talked about is connecting all schools in the Philippines to set the minds of the young people that ICT isn’t all about entertainment but more than that – for positive effect. Lastly, a good question was asked, “How can we help you?” with a simple yet a powerful answer by Dr. Shah, “spread the word”. Spreading out the good news about the eCenters availability amongst the community.
The first webinar successfully came to an end as Dr. Amansec gave his closing remarks.