The COVID-19 pandemic has emerged not only as a public health crisis but an economic one as well. With it came an unexpected impact on the continuity of basic education especially in the public sector. While measures have been put in place for online learning of children, a problem remained in that not all students have access to computers or digital tools.
Having observed this digital information gap in society, Grade 12 Xavier School student Marcuz Cosiquien decided to help to address the situation in his own small way by forming Digitalizing Manila—a group dedicated to providing continuity of education despite the challenges of the current pandemic.
The group is composed of his friends Marc Lau, Ralph Gany and Lance Ty. Though coming from different schools—Marc and Ralph are fellow Xavieran students while Lance is a Fountain International School student—they all share the mission to help bridge the digital divide in the Philippines when it comes to online learning.
The group’s first project is “Digitalize San Juan” held last October 17, which provided much-needed gadgets to the San Juan City Science High School. Volunteers from Rotary Club of Makati Uptown also helped in the project that benefited over 120 students and teachers.
The event began with a talk by the school’s principal and messages from Marcuz Cosiquien as well as the president of the Rotary Club of Uptown. This was followed by the ceremonial distribution of laptops and tablets to selected students and teachers, and ended with closing remarks from the academic coordinator of the school.
Through the support of sponsors and volunteers, Digitalizing Manila hopes to continue providing unhampered online learning opportunities especially to students in marginalized communities.
“The students of the future will demand the learning support that is appropriate for their context and they want it at the moment the need arises. Not sooner, not later. Mobile devices will be a key technology to providing that learning support,” explained Marcuz.
“After the success of the first project, we see many possible projects in the future. We are currently planning to make this program a yearly event so as to help more young Filipinos continue their education even in these challenging times,” he added.