THERE’S no denying that one of the biggest casualties of this still raging coronavirus pandemic is the education sector, and consequently the millions of young students throughout the country.
Fully aware of this situation, Mr. Wilson Tieng, CEO of Solar Entertainment, the parent company of Solar Learning has decided to make it his mission to help the government in whatever way he can.
Knowing that students are one of most vulnerable and affected members of society, he decided to pitch in and fully support the education sector.
To recall, the pandemic has forced schools to employ various modalities to deliver education to students.
As access to different technologies varies per area and per family, the paper-based modules have been implemented by DepEd as the standard of learning delivery during the past school year.
Tieng’s best chance to help came after the leadership team of DepEd-NCR, realized that adding TV-based instruction to the modular delivery can enhance learning effectiveness, especially for students in the Kinder to Grade 3 levels.
This solution of TV-based instruction comes as a welcome development as face-to-face classes in many areas are still not possible at this time.
After several meetings and exploratory talks, a partnership was formed between DepEd-NCR, Solar Learning and Thames International School.
A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was subsequently signed among the three organizations.
The partnership will have the Solar Learning production team and DepEd’s content developers working hand-in-hand on producing DepEd-approved modules for TV.
Thames International, meanwhile, will focus on training teachers on how to use the medium of television as an instructional tool.
All produced content will be aired on Solar’s digital terrestrial television channel, known as Solar Learning DepEd-NCR Channel.
Solar Learning is an educational television channel which broadcasts as a relay feed of the DepEd TV programming service.
The channel is currently available via DTT broadcast frequencies in Metro Manila: Channel 21 (airing the ALS feed daily from 8 am to 11 pm) and Channel 30 (airing the NCR feed from Mondays to Saturdays from 7 am to 7 pm).
“Through this venture with our partners, Solar Entertainment aims to alleviate the worry of parents who cannot afford online learning for their young children due to limited resources and lack of Internet connectivity,” Tieng said.
“This is a great opportunity for us to show that TV is an affordable and far-reaching medium to entertain and educate,” he added.
DepEd-NCR Regional Director Wilfredo Cabral for his part was thankful to Solar and Thames for giving them a big lift as far as teaching school children is concerned.
“We all know that TV-based instruction is the most accessible, appropriate and responsive learning delivery modality for the first key stage of learning, supplemented by printed modules to develop the psychomotor skills of the learners,” he said.
Mr. Joel Santos, president of Thames International adds, “this partnership is a holistic solution to the challenges our teachers, students, and their families face,” he said.
“All bases are covered from curriculum development, access via TV broadcast and teacher training to ensure that our students are able to learn effectively despite the pandemic,” Santos added.
Answering the call
Indeed, this pandemic has resulted in so much suffering but this has also brought the best to many Filipinos and one of them is Tieng.
In an interview, Tieng said he was just answering the call and took up the challenge of providing assistance to DepEd and more importantly to young children, whose studies were severely disrupted by the pandemic.
“It is during these challenging times that we must band together, because any help that we could provide to young students will go a long way in ensuring that their learning needs are attended and provided for,” he said.
Indeed, this crisis has brought myriad problems but it also provided opportunities for people like Tieng and Santos to help those in distress.
To paraphrase Winston Churchill, it was during crisis when we can find and create opportunities to help.