The Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI) has pledged to build 10 small FM radio stations to assist disadvantaged schools, students, and teachers amidst the pandemic, through its “Tulay Sa Bagong Normal: Tulong Para Sa Bayani” program.
PSFI has also pledged to donate 1500 transistor radio units to chosen teachers and schools.
The program is composed of members of the private sector who will also be providing other forms of support to the initiative. It aims to strengthen the Department of Education (DepEd) Schools Division Office (SDO) Palawan’s transition to radio-based instruction (RBI).
According to PSFI program manager Marvi Trudeau, the foundation foresees the completion of the FM stations by January 2021. The project is part of the foundation’s commitment to ensure that students in Palawan continue their education despite the global pandemic.
“Education must go on. We must ask ourselves, what kind of students do we want to see emerge from this pandemic?
Setup and deployment of the needed facilities and equipment will be overseen by the Palawan DepEd SDO, as well as the maintenance of the stations. According to Schools Division Superintendent (SDS) Dr. Natividad Bayubay, shifting to RBI was seen as a solution to curb the mounting expenses brought about by printing modules for each public school student.
“The SDO did an assessment on how much printed modules would cost per student, and there was an estimated P17,000 per student cost for printed modules for one whole year, and this is just for a kindergarten student,” she said. “It only costs around P40,000 to put up a radio station minus the training expenses needed, and these can service many schools and many students.”
Bayubay added that RBI has been proven effective as a distance learning tool in other countries, and thus will be the most effective way teachers and schools can continue the school year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“RBI was proven effective in the 1960’s and 1970’s in the United States, for those who were being homeschooled,” she added.
Other members of the program are the Palawan Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (PCCI), the Palawan Tourism Council (PTC), and Jaycees International-Kiao, a subsidiary of Junior Chamber International (JCI). PCCI has pledged to donate P100,000 worth of transistor radios to disadvantaged students and teachers, while the PTC and Jaycees will provide logistical, mobilization, and monitoring support to the “Tulay” program.
“Tulay” partners also called upon other civic groups, private sector organizations, and individuals in Palawan to also pledge their support to the endeavor.