(PNA file photo by Cristina Arayata

MANILA – Recognizing the importance of digital access, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Secretary Isidro Lapeña said he congratulates Globe for its "GoLearn" initiative, which promotes continuous learning and addresses the digital gaps in education via access to connectivity solutions, learning platforms, and solutions.

"We know for a fact that almost everything revolves around technology and the speed at which it advances makes it even more important for the citizens to access these technological advances," he told the Philippine News Agency in an interview on Thursday.

Digital learning continues to be on the rise in the education sector, he remarked, adding that the disruptions caused by the pandemic made the sector more aware of the importance of giving people, especially learners, the access to it.

Since last year, TESDA has partnered with Globe so that more Filipinos could access TESDA's online courses. Through the partnership, Globe and TM subscribers could access the TESDA Online Program (TOP) without incurring data charges, and even without a load.

There are 1.7 million TOP registrants, and this figure continues to increase, Lapeña said, adding that the agency has been improving the program.

The TOP multi-regional learning management system (LMS) is being enhanced for TESDA Technology Institutions' (TTIs) use in implementing blended learning using existing e-learning materials in the TOP.

"Through this, learners enrolled in the TTI can have online learning on the TOP with the guidance of an online trainer. Practice of skills and actual demonstration or performance of skills shall be scheduled in the TTI workshops following IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) health protocols," he said.

In addition, TESDA is planning to launch a mobile application (app) for TOP, to make it accessible even when offline.

From the previous 60 short online courses, the TOP now offers 103 courses on various sectors such as ICT (information and communications technology), health, electronics, construction, among others.

More agriculture-related courses like Aquaponics Food Production and Organic Agriculture Production have been added.

Lapeña also shared that TESDA recently encouraged the public to apply for scholarships via online. TESDA received over 77,000 applications during the two-day online enrollment last month.

"I congratulate Globe on their latest initiative, the GoLearn platform. TESDA supports this program and if there is anything that we can contribute to the platform, we are very much willing to help and cooperate. TESDA and Globe have always been very active partners in promoting online learning and making this more accessible," he said.

Former TESDA chief, Senator Joel Villanueva also expressed support for this initiative during GoLearn's launch last August 27 via the DepEd's Facebook page.

"We advocate digital learning. This initiative is a huge help to ensure continuous learning, and that digital solution would widen access to training," he said. (PNA)