The UP Open University (UPOU) and the Philippine Long Distance Telephone, Co. (PLDT) signed a new Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the Phase 4 of the Infoteach Outreach Program on 29 November 2016 at PLDT Innotech Lab, Mandaluyong City.

This partnership between UPOU and PLDT aims to promote digital literacy among public high school school teachers and students. Infoteach Outreach started in 2013 with an initial participant of 1,655 from 11 school divisions. At present, it has trained a total of 523 Master Trainor and Trainors, 5627 teachers and 6067 students from public high school for the past 3 years of implementation. It has reached 435 schools in 45 schools division nationwide.

This year, the program hopes to train a total of 6,000 secondary teachers and students from 19 municipalities in the following areas: NCR, Bulacan, Isabela, Ilocos Norte, Laoag City, Cavite, Cebu City, Mandaue City, Cagayan de Oro City, and Davao City. It will start with the training of 300 trainers and 20 master trainers with UPOU using the blended learning approach.

Ms. Evelyn Mamauag-del Rosario, PLDT Community Relations Head, explained in her welcome remarks that working with the education sector is a more effective and efficient way of achieving the goals of the program. She also stressed that the training of teachers and students has a greater impact in reaching families and communities.

Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, UPOU Chancellor, on the other hand, explained that the goals of the Phase 4 of the Infoteach Outreach Program is to broaden the reach of the program and make the training curriculum responsive to the external dynamics that impact on education. This 4th phase of Infoteach Outreach Program will capitalize on the digital skills of the participants. The module will now focus on the digital productivity tools rather than the digital skills which the participants already possess She expressed UPOU’s commitment to the project implementation. UPOU and PLDT have been partners for more than four years now in initiating a number of similar projects to digitally empower teachers and students.

Mr. Ramon R. Isberto, Head of Public Affairs of PLDT and Smart, was also present to give the closing remarks. He expressed the importance of developing students’ curiosity or interest in learning. This will be their tool for the future as the pace of change is not slowing down but will even go faster and wider. Mr Isberto noted that the improvement in technology is constant and skills sets will change every so often. Their future work does not exist today but will still be created in the future. There will be no life long careers. They would be changing careers from time to time so the tools that are taught to them today will be the tools they will use in their lifetime.

The 4th Infoteach Outreach Program Training of Trainors will be conducted on 9-10 January 2017 at UP Open University, Los Baños, Laguna. (Eleanor Payawal-Manipol)