Unidos Elementary School (ES) in Surigao del Sur recently received an unexpected gift from PLDT-Smart Foundation (PSF) and Huawei Philippines (Huawei) – the School-in-a-Bag, a digital classroom powered by PLDT and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart). 

“Education is the greatest gift we can bestow on our youth. The School-in-a-Bag ensures that inclusive quality education reaches children in last-mile schools. President of the PLDT-Smart Foundation Esther O. Santos stated, “All of these initiatives lead to our partners’ and our shared goal of meeting the needs and improving the quality of life of Filipinos.”

Located on the outskirts of Tandag City, Unidos ES caters to 180 pupils, many of whom are children of carpenters and farmers. Having served generations of learners, some classrooms and facilities of the school show signs of wear and tear. When the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted in-person classes, teachers also struggled to transition to digital teaching methods. It was made even more challenging by the lack of learning tools and devices to maximize available technology for learning. 

The School-in-a-Bag empowers teachers to explore new ways to deliver lessons using innovative technologies that help improve their learning experience. “The tools in the package and the amazing learning apps in the School-in-a-Bag will truly improve the quality of instruction we can provide to our pupils,” said teacher Florenvic Suarez. 

Each School-in-a-Bag contains 10 tablets with interactive applications for learners to access while offline and a laptop and a Smart Bro LTE pocket WiFi for teachers to boost their productivity and access more resources online. 

“As we embrace the bigger role that technology plays in the new normal of education, the School-in-a-Bag will be a huge help to both our teachers and learners. Our heartfelt gratitude goes to PSF, Huawei, PLDT, and Smart for choosing Unidos ES as a beneficiary of this program,” Suarez added. 

PLDT and Smart recognize quality education as a foundation for improving people’s lives and obtaining sustainable development. In support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG), particularly SDG No. 4: Quality Education, education continues to be among the most important advocacies of the PLDT Group, with a strong emphasis on digital literacy.