Poor internet connection forces suspension of online courses

CEBU CITY –– Schools shaken by the poor quality of Internet services due to the damage caused by Typhoon “Odette” (international name: Rai) in the Central Visayas have decided to suspend their online courses.

Salustiano Jimenez, director of the Department of Education (DepEd) of the Central Visayas, said they were coordinating with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

“Internet connectivity in our country has been a problem ever since, even without a typhoon. I call on the agencies concerned to speed up the restoration of Internet connections (so that online courses can resume), ”he said by telephone to the Inquirer.

Private schools, he said, are mostly affected by slow internet connections, as many of their students choose online courses as a means of learning.

Public schools, on the other hand, use blended learning, a combination of online and offline modes. Online technology is used to deliver lessons, while other activities are carried out offline using printed modules, videotapes and storage devices, among others.

Jimenez does not yet have the exact number of schools and students affected by poor internet connections.

Twenty-four days after the Odette attack, communications and internet signals had not yet been fully restored in Cebu.

Globe Telecom, Smart Communications and PLDT, however, have assured the public that their field engineers and staff have made every effort to restore network services as soon as possible.

In a statement, Cathy Yap-Yang, senior vice president of PLDT and Smart Communications and group head for corporate communications, said telecommunications services have been affected by the continued lack of reliable commercial power, as well as cuts and damage to lines leading to single-family homes, according to Odette.

Yang, however, said that PDLT’s fixed services in the Visayas have been restored to over 70%, while Smart’s mobile services in 4G, 3G and 2G have been restored to over 60% in Cebu province. .

“In addition, in a context of renewed tightening of COVID-19 restrictions, our network teams are continuing their work to reconnect the rest of our customers as soon as possible, while respecting health protocols,” she added. .

In a separate statement, Yoly Crisanto, Globe’s senior vice president for corporate communications and chief sustainability officer, said about 60% of Globe’s network facilities in Cebu have been restored.

She pointed out that the typhoon damaged several Globe towers in Cebu and caused multiple fiber cuts that affected their mobile and fiber-to-home services.

“While we are doing our best to restore connectivity, to this day some areas of Cebu are still experiencing service disruptions,” she added.

“We want to assure you that our engineers and field teams are on the ground to rebuild damaged facilities and bring our network services back to normal,” she said.

Crisanto said they will provide updates on network restoration via notices posted on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/GlobeIcon, and their official website – Typhoon Odette Service Advisory – Globe Newsroom.

As part of its relief efforts against Typhoon Odette, Globe offered a one-day text message to all networks, a call to Glo…

Jimenez said the expansion of limited in-person classes in the area was supposed to start on Jan.6, but had to be postponed due to the devastation caused by Odette.

He said they were waiting until Jan. 15 for their central office to determine whether or not the expansion of limited in-person courses would continue.

The eight public schools and two private schools in Cebu that have participated in the in-person pilot courses since November 2021 resumed classes on January 4, Jimenez said.

These public schools are located in the towns of Balamban, Bantayan, Camotes, Moalboal, Oslob, Pilar and Samboan, as well as in the town of Bogo.

The private schools are the Sisters of Mary’s (SOM) Boystown in the town of Minglanilla and the SOM Girlstown in the town of Talisay.

Jimenez said at least 440 more schools were interested in joining the expansion of in-person classes.

“After January 15, we’ll know how many can join in the expansion of limited in-person classes in the region,” he said in a telephone interview.

Suspending online classes will help teachers and students recover from the devastation caused by Odette.

“Some schools do not yet have water and electricity. This is why I insisted on the need to implement a situational approach to localization. We will not implement a policy for all schools because there are areas that were not affected by the typhoon, ”Jimenez said.

Schools in the region made up of Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor suffered damage amounting to at least 1.4 billion pula due to Odette.

Jimenez said Odette destroyed 719 classrooms and damaged more than 500. Learning materials were also damaged.

“We stand by and support the statement by (Education) Secretary (Leonor) Briones that education must continue in the midst of the crisis,” he said.

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