Public high schools in Laguna receive laptops from Toshiba,GILAS

A March 2, 2011 press release prepared by the Department of Education

“As a team, we can do so much to make education for all a reality…to make education inclusive of many and not exclusive to a few.” This is the strong message of Education Secretary Armin Luistro during the turn-over ceremony of laptop donations to public high schools held in a San Pedro Reloction Center National High School Landayan Annex, San Pedro, Laguna.

Fourteen public high schools in Laguna received ten new laptops each through the partnership of the ,  Department of Education, and Toshiba Corporation, Gearing Up Internet Literacy and Access for Students (GILAS) – a program of the Ayala Foundation.

GILAS and Toshiba has been a partner of the department in its computerization project since 2005 and 2007, respectively.

“Our mandate at the Department of Education is to make quality basic education accessible to all, the end-goal being to make every Filipino functionally literate. Hence, this partnership democratizes access to quality education for learners in rupartral areas,” noted Luistro.

In fact, GILAS, now on its fifth year of implementation has already connected over 3,000 schools in cities and municipalities all over the country, benefiting more than a million students and teachers. 104 of that number are public high schools in Laguna.

TOSHIBA’s partnership with GILAS has so far contributed to connecting close to 30% (or about 30 schools) among the 104 connected schools in Laguna.

Laguna has 126 public high schools, hence about 83% are already enjoying Internet connectivity.

“If other students cannot have equality in terms of learning resources, we can never achieve our Education For All targets – at least, not within the timeframe that we have set for ourselves. The limitations of our public school system and the limited resources we have prevent us from really addressing the challenges in education. But through this project, we can equalize access to information beyond the four corners of the secondary school classrooms in the province of Laguna,” explained Luistro.

Of the 22 schools which remain unconnected, one school is still without electricity while seven already have complete computer laboratories and are just waiting for connection. Because of this, 14 remain technologically behind.

But through Toshiba’s sponsorship, these 14 schools that lack computers will soon have their computers and Internet connectivity – raising a total of 44 assisted schools to their credit – as 140 brand new Toshiba laptops will be distributed equally to each of the 14 beneficiary schools in Laguna amounting to more than P5M.

These include Buenaventura E. Fandialan Memorial NHS (Alaminos), Biñan Secondary School of Applied Academics – Annex Campus (Biñan), Lumot NHS (Cavinti), Gov. Felicisimo T. San Luis National Agro-Industrial HS (Siniloan), Suba NHS (Majayjay), Unson NHS (Pagsanjan), Masico NHS (Pila), Upland NHS (Nagcarlan) and Cabuyao NHS – Casile NHS Annex (Cabuyao).

Likewise, San Buenaventura NHS (Luisiana), Calumpang NHS – Lowland NHS Annex (Nagcarlan), Santa Maria NHS – Bagumbayan Extension (Santa Maria), Bukal NHS (Cavinti), and Buenavista NHS (Magdalena) will also benefit from the laptop donation of Toshiba.

Luistro expressed his appreciation to GILAS, the Ayala Foundation, and Toshiba Corporation for “choosing a corporate social responsibility project that has far-reaching effects in terms of learning and societal impact…for helping bridge the gap in education and for making technology accessible to our public schools…that can lead towards a more educated citizenry and a more stable society. ”

Luistro added that this support is the first and concrete step in bringing 21st century education to learners. It will afford the students a chance to be connected to the bigger world through the power of information communication technology.