To realize the ideal 1:1 textbook-student ratio, Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada is pushing to have all textbooks and reference books in public elementary and secondary schools in digital copies.
“Kung pipilitin natin na mabigyan ng sapat na bilang ng libro ang bawat mag-aaral sa mga pampublikong paaralan, matatagalan pa ito. Ang pagkakaroon ng digital copies na maa-access nila gamit ang internet ang tanging paraan na nakikita ko upang magutunan ang kanilang pangangailangan,” Estrada said as he pushed for the approval of his proposed Senate Bill No. 2075.
SBN 2075, or the proposed Philippine Online Library Act, seeks to establish a Philippine Online Library which would serve as the repository of all digitized copies of textbooks and reference materials being used by students in public elementary and secondary levels.
“Making them available online will not only complement the existing physical libraries in schools and local government units around the country but will also aid both teachers and students especially those who have utilized various learning modalities,” Estrada said.
“The insufficient number of textbooks in public schools remains a serious concern and with the sheer number of students, the achievement of the ideal textbook-to-student ratio is far from realization. In this light, the Philippine Online Library can supplement the required books, especially for students who have internet connectivity,” Estrada said.
“Apart from serving the needs of the students and teachers, this reliable database will be useful by both present and future generations,” he added.
Under Estrada’s SBN 2075, the Department of Education (DepEd) will be tasked to make digitized copies of all textbooks and reference books of students in public elementary and secondary schools.
Such copies shall be compiled in the proposed Philippine Online Library, which shall be jointly managed by the DepEd and the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT).
To ensure access, the DepEd shall provide computers and laptops to all primary and secondary public schools nationwide while the DICT shall provide fast and reliable internet to ensure access to the digitized copies of textbooks.
Recycling of computers, laptops, etc of all national government agencies, GOCCs, and government financial institutions shall be required, Estrada said.
In procuring new computers, the DepEd shall endorse their old units to the DICT for examination and if these are found to be still in good condition, these will be distributed to primary and secondary schools nationwide to offset the expenses that will be incurred in procuring the computers and laptops for students.
The DepEd and the National Library of the Philippines shall have joint custody over the digitized copies of the textbooks.
An initial amount of P500 million, which will be jointly managed by the DepEd and DICT, shall be appropriated by Congress for the implementation of the undertaking.
The amount necessary for the succeeding years shall be included in the annual general appropriations act (GAA), Estrada said.