The 1987 Philippine Constitution does not mention the terms "educational technology" (EdTech) and "information and communication technology" (ICT). However, it mentions the term "science and technology" without defining it in Section 10.
The 2006 Philippines' National ICT Competency Standards (NICS) define the term ICT as the “totality of electronic means to collect, store, process and present information to end-users in support of their activities It consists, among others, of computer systems, office systems and consumer electronics, as well as networked information infrastructure, the components of which include the telephone system, the Internet, fax machines and computers.”
National Framework Plan for ICTs in Basic Education (2005-2010): Harnessing ICTs for Quality Basic Education for All of Philippines defines Information and communication technologies (ICTs) as "the diverse set of technological tools and resources used to communicate, and to create, disseminate, store, and manage information, such as computers, the internet, radio, television, telephones, and audio-visual equipment".
The 2015 Department of Information And Communications Technology Act (also known as the Republic Act No. 10844) defines ICT as "the totality of electronic means to access, create, collect, store, process, receive, transmit, present and disseminate information".
The term ICT is also mentioned in other national acts, plans and strategies, such as the 2012 Data Privacy Act (Republic Act No. 10173), the 2012 Cybercrime Prevention Act (Republic Act No. 10175), the 2020 e-Governance Act (Senate Bill 1738), the 2022 National Cybersecurity Plan, and the 2011-15 Philippines Digital Strategy without any definition.
Some acts, for example, the 2001 Governance of Basic Education Act (Republic Act No. 9155), the 2012 Kindergarten Education Act (Republic Act No. 10157), the 2013 Enhanced Basic Education Act (Republic Act No. 10533), the 2020 Alternative Learning System Act (Republic Act No. 11510), the Republic Act No. 7277 (the Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities) (and its amendment: the Republic Act No. 9422), and the Republic Act No. 10929, known as the 2016 Free Internet Access in Public Places Act do not mention the terms ICT or Edtech.
Constitution and laws: Section 17 under Article II of the 1987 Philippine Constitution mandates the State to prioritise education, science and technology, arts, culture, and sports to foster patriotism and nationalism and accelerate social progress, human liberation, and development. Section 8 under Article XIV states, " Science and technology are essential for national development and progress. The State shall give priority to research and development, invention, innovation, and their utilization; and to science and technology education, training, and services. It shall support indigenous, appropriate, and self-reliant scientific and technological capabilities, and their application to the country’s productive systems and national life."
The 2012 Data Privacy Act (Republic Act No. 10173) emphasises the role of the State to protect the fundamental human right of privacy of communication while ensuring the free flow of information to promote innovation and growth. The State recognises the vital role of information and communications technology (ICT) in nation-building and its inherent obligation to ensure that personal information in the government and private sector's information and communications systems are secured and protected.
The 2012 Cybercrime Prevention Act (Republic Act No. 10175) highlights "the importance of providing an environment conducive to the development, acceleration, and rational application and exploitation of information and communications technology (ICT) to attain free, easy, and intelligible access to exchange and/or delivery of information."
One of the vital goals of the 2015 Department of Information and Communications Technology Act (also known as the Republic Act No. 10844) is to promote digital literacy, ICT expertise, and knowledge-building among citizens to enable them to participate and compete in an evolving ICT age.
Policies, plans and strategies: The 2008 ICT4E Strategic Plan aims to "lead students to be adaptable life-long learners where ICT plays a major role in creating a new and improved model of teaching and learning where education happens anytime and anywhere."
The 2011-2015 Philippines Digital Strategy is designed to "promote digital literacy, information and communications technology (ICT) expertise, and knowledge-building among citizens to enable them to participate and compete in an evolving information and communications technology (ICT) age".
Launched on June 3, 2022, the 2022–2030 Basic Education Development Plan (BEDP) features four priority areas relative to expanding access to education. The plan considers Edtech as one of the enabling mechanisms. Furthermore, it is the first long-term plan of the Department for Basic Education, covering formal education from 5 to 18 years old and non-formal education for youth and adults.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT)'s 2022 National Cybersecurity Plan aims to build a cybersecurity-educated society. The nexus of the 2022 National Cybersecurity Plan is also anchored in the 2015 Department of Information and Communications Technology Act (also known as the Republic Act No. 10844).
The National ICT Ecosystem Framework (NICTEF) identifies the following six areas mirroring the digital transformation strategies of the government for sustainable development of the ICT ecosystem. These include participatory e-Governance, industry and countryside development, resource-sharing and capacity building through ICT, improved public links and connectivity, ICT user protection and information security, and enabling and sustainable ICT environment. Through resource-sharing and capacity building through ICT thrust, the framework focuses on the essentials of developing and protecting integrated government ICT infrastructures and design architecture while advocating for continuing professional development using digital tools and enabling traditional ones with ICT and enhancing the ICT-related education curriculum.
Digital competency frameworks: The Philippines has developed its own 2006 National ICT Competency Standards (NICS) and national digital literacy curriculum framework. The main objective of the framework is to produce 21st-century digital citizens that can use ICT and digital tools confidently, responsibly and ethically. In addition, the Philippines has adopted the Enterprise Microsoft Digital Literacy Standard Curriculum framework.
Changes occurred due to COVID-19: There are no changes occurred in laws, policies, and plans due to COVID-19.
2.2.1. Technology infrastructure and digital capacity of schools
Electricity: The Philippines had many electrification programs in the past; some mainly targeted providing access to rural/remote areas. For instance, the 2011-15 Philippines Digital Strategy recognised ICT as a powerful enabling tool for critical infrastructures like transportation, water and electricity. The 2016-19 Access to Sustainable Energy Program (ASEP), with funding assistance from the European Union, provided electricity access to 10,000 remote, sparse and dispersed households in the country. The Rural Electrification Program of the Department of Energy envisaged achieving 100% barangays electrification by 2008 and the Expanded Electrification Program is targeting household electrification.
The 2016-2030 Philippine Energy Plan recognises the importance of bringing electricity access to energy-poverty-stricken areas in the country.
Computer and devices: In 2011, the Philippines started the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) programme.
With the second core component of the Sulong Edukalidad: Improving the learning environment, the Department of Education (DepEd) is ensuring that each student has a computer.
Designed as a comprehensive response for isolated and marginalised schools, the Last Mile School program aimed to provide ICT equipment in 7,144 schools across that were identified as needing immediate support.
Internet connectivity: To ensure the realization of the Philippines' long-term vision called AmBisyon Natin 2040 and the country's commitments to the ASEAN ICT Masterplan (AIM) 2020, the National Broadband Plan prescribes two megabits per second (2Mbps) of internet speed as the minimum internet speed per user.
Section 5 of the Republic Act No. 10929, known as the 2016 Free Internet Access in Public Places Act, aims to accelerate the Philippines government's efforts to enhance users' internet access. The minimum internet speed per user is two megabits per second (2Mbps), as prescribed by the 2017 National Broadband Plan. The 2016 Free Internet Access in Public Places Act covers basic public educational institutions and other public places, for example, national and local government offices and public hospitals. Over 11, 400 hotspot sites have been established nationwide. Moreover, under the government's Free Wi-Fi for All Program, 10,300 internet sites have been put up in public schools by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
2.2.2. Technology and learning environments
In August 2020, the Department of Education (DepEd) set the opening of the school year 2020-21 and issued Implementing Guidelines on the School Calendar and Activities for School Year (SY) 2020-21, emphasising face-to-face learning with distance learning. Attending orientation and training activities on utilising distance learning delivery modalities, preparing instructional material, and planning the organisation of classes in consideration of learning delivery modalities were of the utmost importance for teachers.
Furthermore, according to Department of Education Order (DO) No. 007, s. 2020, "in choosing the specific learning delivery modalities to use, the schools need to take into consideration the following: availability of learning resources, the health and well-being of learners and the Department of Education (DepEd) personnel, national and local directives given, and the choice of parents and learners". For example, one of the non-negotiable minimum requirements for online distance learning or blended learning for schools is to have the technical expertise to run and support the educational platform 24/7. Having access to devices and connectivity at schools is important for teachers.
According to Section 8 of the 2020 Alternative Learning System Act (Republic Act No. 11510), online learning, digital or mobile learning, and radio or television-based instruction are recognised to effectively deliver non-formal education (NFE) programs.
In the wake of COVID-19, the Department of Education (DepEd) published a list of COVID-19 memoranda. According to Memoranda Number: 042 - Guidelines for the Remainder of School Year 2019-2020 regarding COVID-19 Measures, teachers with available resources and access to the Internet are highly encouraged to explore the online alternative learning delivery platforms identified by the Department of Education (DepEd) Information and Communications Technology Service (ICTS) that may be used for delivering distance learning during periods of class suspensions and similar circumstances.
The Department of Education (DepEd)'s Youtube channel offers lectures on various subjects such as mathematics for children and learners in Grades 1-5. Furthermore, the Educational Technology Unit (ETU) Youtube channel is created to be the link between the curriculum and ICT that will focus on bridging the gap to further understand the complexities of the emerging pedagogy and blending the perfect technology.
In 2001, the Department of Education (DepEd) created the "Department of Education Information Technology Framework", which identified the "action areas for ICT-integration in the basic education system from 2000 to 2005." The areas included were school computerization, teacher training, IT curriculum development, multimedia content development, financing, and monitoring and evaluation. In 2004 DepEd and the Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development (FITED), in consultation with different education stakeholders from the public and private sector and civil society groups, developed the National Framework Plan for ICTs in Basic Education covering the goals and strategies of the department from 2005 to 2010. The National Framework Plan for ICTs in Basic Education recognised ICTs as tools to enhance information literacy, critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaborative and cooperative learning.
With the vision of enabling an ICT-education system that transforms students into dynamic life-long learners and values-centred, productive, and responsible citizens, the ICT4E Strategic Plan of the Department of Education (DepEd) with funding support from the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID, now the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade), completed in 2009, identifies ICT learning targets for students through the formal years of schooling in six areas: Basic operations and concepts; Social, ethical and human issues; ICT for Producing; ICT for Communicating; ICT for Researching; ICT for Problem-solving.
The 1982 Education Act (Republic Act No. 232) does not include pre-elementary education as a part of the formal basic educational ladder. However, the 2012 Kindergarten Education Act (Republic Act No. 10157) has included kindergarten as a part of the formal basic education ladder. Despite these discrepancies in education acts, the Department of Education (DepEd) recognizes the importance of sound early childhood development. The Department of Education (DepEd) has exercised steps to integrate preschool education into the basic education system. Competencies developed by the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development for five-year-old Filipino children focus on developing gross and fine motor facilities, understanding and expressing thoughts and feelings through language and the formation of concepts, and sensory discrimination reading and number readiness. Moreover, an ICT-enhanced preschool curriculum is developed to advance children's physical and mental development through early exposure and awareness of technology, for example, using computers in play activities and interactive voice-over books and electronic calculators for reading.
The 2022–2030 Basic Education Development Plan (BEDP) highlights the importance of learning and innovation, information media and technology, communication, and life and career skills for learners to achieve their aspirations and contribute to building a progressive and cohesive nation. The 2022–2030 Basic Education Development Plan (BEDP) also recognises the importance of STEM subjects in students' learning.
In the K to 12 Basic Education Curriculum for the Alternative Learning System (ALS-K to 12) Learning Strand, there are 14,171 competencies listed. The Alternative Learning System is the non-formal education (NFE) way for people to gain a school diploma/completion if they missed out on traditional public education. They cater more to low-income young adults and help them gain qualifications to enter the job market. Digital competencies include Devices and software operations, Information and data literacy, Communication and collaboration, Digital content creation, Safety, and Problem-solving.
AmBisyon Natin 2040 highlights the importance of the foundational literacies (reading, numeracy, scientific literacy, ICT literacy, economic and financial literacy, cultural and civic literacy) along with other competencies, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, communication, collaboration, and character qualities - curiosity, initiative, persistence and grit, adaptability, leadership, social and cultural awareness.
Based on the existing National ICT Competency Standards (NICS) and international standards (UNESCO), the Department of Education (DepEd) ICT Competency Standard for Teachers has three levels – basic, proficient and advanced - in six domains, namely, ICT; Pedagogy; Organization and Administration; Teacher Professional Development; Social, Ethical Legal and Human Issues; and Evaluation and Assessment.
In the 2013 Enhanced Basic Education Act (Republic Act No. 10533) and the 2020 Alternative Learning System Act (Republic Act No. 11510), there is a provision to ensure in-service teacher training that aims to meet the content and performance standards of the new K to 12 curricula. However, the 2013 Enhanced Basic Education Act (Republic Act No. 10533) and the 2020 Alternative Learning System Act (Republic Act No. 11510) do not mention ensuring the development of teachers' digital skills.
According to the 2017 National Adoption and Implementation of the Philippines Professional National Standards for Teachers (DepEd Order No. 42, s. 2017), there are seven domains comprising of thirty-seven strands that refer to teachers' practices. Positive use of ICT, teaching and learning resources including ICT are incorporated in these strands. Furthermore, according to the 2019 Implementation of the National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP) transformation (DepEd Order No. 11, s. 2019), similar strands can also be found in the Philippine Professional Standards for School Heads (PPSSH) and the Philippine Professional Standards for Supervisors (PPSS).
The 2020 e-Governance Act (Senate Bill 1738) stipulates the creation of an ICT academy that will ensure the provision of multimodal training, courses and certifications.
2.4.1. Data privacy
The 2012 Data Privacy Act (Republic Act No. 10173) is the governing law on data privacy matters in the Philippines. The Act refers to individuals' education information as sensitive personal information.
In 2021, the House of Representatives of the Philippines approved and transmitted to the Philippine Senate a bill seeking to amend the 2012 Data Privacy Act (Republic Act No. 10173). Some proposed amendments include redefining "sensitive personal information" and defining the digital age of consent to process personal information as more than fifteen years. These proposed amendments remain pending before the Philippine Senate.
The 2012 Cybercrime Prevention Act (Republic Act No. 10175) and the 2015 Department of Information and Communications Technology Act (also known as the Republic Act No. 10844) also ensure the right of individuals to privacy and confidentiality of their data and information.
Following its mandate to protect and promote the right to and access to quality basic education, the Department of Education (DepEd) collects various data and information, including personal information, from multiple subjects using different systems. According to the Freedom of Information Act (Executive Order No. 2, s. 2016), the Department of Education (DepEd) ensures the free flow of information while processing data and personal information. The Freedom of Information Act protects and respects the confidentiality and privacy of data and information required under the 2012 Data Privacy Act (Republic Act No. 10173). Unless access is denied, request for data and information when such data and information fall under any of the exceptions enshrined in the 1987 Constitution, existing law or jurisprudence, shall be guided by the Department of Education (DepEd)'s Freedom of Information Manual (Department Order No. 72, s. 2016). Only authorized the Department of Education (DepEd) personnel have access to personal information collected, the exchange of which will be facilitated through e-mail and web applications. These will be stored in a database per government policies, rules, regulations, and guidelines.
Ensuring the rights of individuals to privacy and confidentiality of their personal information is enshrined in the mandates of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and its 2022 National Cybersecurity Plan.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Data Privacy Council Education Sector issued Advisory No. 2020-1: Data Privacy and Online Learning to help students, parents, teachers, administrators, and other school personnel safely navigate digital spaces, as classes have shifted to online platforms. According to the advisory, before webcam-supported online discussions are recorded, schools must consider getting the consent of students' parents or legal guardians below 18 years old. Moreover, submissions via social media platforms are discouraged; posting or sharing personal data, such as photos and videos, on social media must have a legitimate purpose and be done using authorized social media accounts of the school. The advisory also asked schools to practice limited use of supporting tools or technologies that they have not officially adopted, as there is no formal relationship between them and the developer of the tools.
House Bill No. 5307 or the 2019 Social Media Regulation and Protection Act aims to limit the use of social media and to provide protection for children and minors. However, the proposed bill does not explicitly mention data privacy and protection from the use of technology in education.
2.4.2. Online abuse and cyberbullying
Republic Act 10627 or the 2013 Anti-Bullying Act refers to cyberbullying or any bullying done using technology or any electronic means as one of the acts of bullying. Section 3(a)(1) of the 2013 Anti-Bullying Act directs all elementary and secondary schools to adopt policies (need to be regularly updated) to prevent and address the acts of bullying using technology or an electronic device owned, leased or used by a school. The 2013 Anti-bullying Act also enumerated proper actions to take once a school detected any cyberbullying situation, such as immediate response, reporting the bullying incident or retaliation, fact-finding and documentation, intervention, referral, disciplinary measures, and due process. School administrators will face sanctions for noncompliance.
The Department of Education (DepEd) has also issued child protection policies. DepEd Order No. 40, s. 2012, entitled "DepEd Child Protection Policy," enunciates the Department's zero tolerance against all forms of abuse, violence, exploitation, neglect, discrimination, and all other forms of maltreatment against learners.
The 2012 Cybercrime Prevention Act (Republic Act No. 10175) recognises child pornography and cybersex as punishable by the Revised Penal Code (Act No. 3815). However, the 2012 Cybercrime Prevention Act (Republic Act No. 10175) does not explicitly mention preventing and responding to online abuse and cyberbullying of students in educational institutions. The 2009 Anti-Child Pornography Act (RA 9775) also aims to prevent online sexual abuse of children below 18 years of age. Furthermore, Section 18 and Section 19 of the 2009 Anti-Child Pornography Act (RA 9775) highlights the need to provide educational assistance for the victims of child pornography. However, the 2009 Anti-Child Pornography Act (RA 9775) does not explicitly mention the protection of students from online abuse in educational institutions.
Section 29 of the Republic Act No. 10929, known as the 2016 Free Internet Access in Public Places Act authorises all Internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to Internet websites, applications or programs which promote or provide direct or indirect access to online sexual abuse and exploitation material on children. However, the Republic Act No. 10929, known as the 2016 Free Internet Access in Public Places Act does not explicitly mention preventing and responding to online abuse and cyberbullying of students in educational institutions.
Under the supervision of the Stairway Foundation and with support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Department of Education (DepEd) Child Protection Officers have written the Cybersafe Project Manuals, crafted specifically for Grade Five, Grade Six, and Junior High School students. Cyberbullying, texting etiquette, image and content sharing, online pornography, unsafe selfies and sexting are some of the important learning areas addressed in the manuals. The Cybersafe Project also provides cyberbullying manuals/brochures for parents.
The Department of Education (DepEd) also conducts Cybersafety in Schools Training, a training program for the Department of Education (DepEd) personnel. The programme covers the protection of children from online abuse, violence, exploitation, discrimination, and bullying.
According to the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan for School (BE-LCP) in the light of COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, a Learning Resources and Platforms Committee is created to ensure that appropriate learning resources of superior quality are made available and that the necessary platforms and technologies (printed, digital online and offline, television, and radio) are engaged and made available in a timely and efficient manner. Pursuant to Section 6 of the 2013 Enhanced Basic Education Act (Republic Act No. 10533), a Learning Resources and Platforms Committee is chaired by the Department of Education Secretary and with representatives each from, but not limited to, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE), the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and the Information Technology – Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry association.
According to Section 6 of the 2015 Department of Information and Communications Technology Act (also known as the Republic Act No. 10844), the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is responsible for formulating ICT policies and initiatives in coordination with the Department of Education (DepED). With the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is responsible for developing and promoting ICT in education consistent with national goals and objectives.
According to Section 15(j) of the 2020 Alternative Learning System Act (Republic Act No. 11510), the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is responsible for helping the Department of Education (DepEd) in the alternative learning system (ALS) implementation by providing digital resources to the alternative learning system (ALS) community learning centre (CLC) and guidance for the digital literacy component of the ALS K to 12 Basic Education Curriculum (BEC) and the alternative learning system (ALS) non-formal education (NFE) programs.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) through its attached agency the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordination Center (CICC) is also responsible for ensuring the security of critical ICT infrastructure; providing oversight over agencies governing and regulating the ICT sector; assessing the vulnerabilities of cybersecurity.
National Computer Emergency Response Team (NCERT), a division under the Cybersecurity Bureau of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), is responsible for receiving, reviewing, and responding to computer security incident reports and activities. The division also ensures that systematic information gathering/dissemination, coordination, and collaboration among stakeholders, especially computer emergency response teams, are maintained to mitigate information security threats and cybersecurity risks.
The Electronic Gadget-Free Schools Act (House Bill No. 5542) seeks to ban the use of mobile devices and electronic gadgets in all K-12 institutions under the control and supervision of the Department of Education (DepEd). Students are required to deposit their mobile devices and electronic gadgets to school authorities, and they may be only redeemed during dismissal. However, the proposed bill comes with some exceptions. Students with disabilities are allowed to use electronic gadgets for class-based learning activities requiring electronic gadgets. Students may also use their gadgets only if there is an emergency, when required in a class discussion, and when necessary for the health or well-being of a student certified by a licensed physician.
The profile was reviewed by Ma Arsenia C Gomez, Praksis A Miranda, and Allen A Espinosa (Philippine Normal University).