An E-Skwela Hub. (Photo courtesy of Tutok To Win Partylist Rep. Sam Verzosa's office)

MANILA – A party-list lawmaker is pushing for the establishment of an "electronic eskwela" or E-Skwela hub in every village in the country to aid learners who have limited or no access to computers, printers, the Internet, and other digital learning tools and equipment.

Tutok To Win Partylist Representative Sam Verzosa filed on Sept. 14 House Bill 4827, or the E-Skwela Act, aimed at elevating the country's education system and enhance the learners' capabilities that require the provision of learning tools and resources and also access to the infinite knowledge found in the internet.

A copy of the bill was sent to the media on Friday.

“Noong pumutok ang pandemic, maraming estudyante ang nahirapang mag-aral dahil walang computer at internet connection. Kaya naisipan namin na magpatayo ng mahigit sampung E-Skwela Hub sa Maynila, Cagayan, Baguio, Camotes Islands sa Cebu kung saan maaaring pumunta dito ang mga estudyante upang makagamit ng computer at Internet connection nang walang bayad (At the height of the pandemic, several students had experienced challenges in studying because they don't have computers and Internet connection. That's why we established more than 10 E-Skwela Hubs in Manila, Cagayan, Baguio, Camotes Islands in Cebu where students could go to use computers and access internet connection for free)," said Verzosa.

He expressed hope to increase and improve these learning hubs through legislation to narrow the gap in resources between the rich and poor learners.

The E-Skwela Hub would serve as a learning center that provides free use of computers, internet access and printing equipment, and other educational materials to meet the need of learners in the blended or online learning system.

“Importante na makatulong tayo sa pag-aaral ng kabataan dahil ang edukasyon ang mag-aahon sa mga pamilya mula sa kahirapan (It is important for us to contribute to the education of our youth because it will take families out of poverty),” he said.

The bill mandates the Department of Education, in coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), to undertake the construction of an E-Skwela Hub or the repair and rehabilitation of existing learning centers or infrastructure according to mutually agreed specifications, criteria, and details.

The National Library of the Philippines shall provide the standard set of relevant printed and audio-visual materials and shall digitize its catalog and collection to provide free and full off-site access.

Meanwhile, the Department of Information and Communication Technology shall provide the necessary infrastructure to ensure reliable Internet connection and maximize digital technology in E-Skwela Hubs. (PNA)