THE Department of Science and Technology–Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICT Office) and the National Library of the Philippines (NLP) recently forged a partnership to implement the Technology for Economic Development (Tech4ED) project aimed at empowering communities.
The agreement involves over 1,000 public libraries.
The Tech4ED project establishes centers in rural and underserved areas to expand access to ICT services, learning resources, and opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment.
The establishment of Tech4ED Centers in over 1,000 public libraries affiliated with the NLP will be a breakthrough in addressing digital inclusion.
“We aim to make our public libraries more relevant to the community and further increase their utilization. With Tech4ED in our libraries, we can bring the benefits of ICT to more Filipinos,” Jilven Amar, Librarian III of the NLP, said.
“Tech4ED is about creating equal opportunities for everybody,” said Bettina Quimson, Deputy Executive Director for eSociety, DOST-ICT Office. “Librarians are very essential in enabling a person to be trained on special skill sets toward employment and entrepreneurship,” Quimson said. “If the public library has at least three computers and Internet connectivity, we will work with them immediately to set up the Tech4ED platform.”
Key services under Tech4ED are eGovServ for government transactions such as applications for birth certificate, driver’s license and clearance from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), among others; eEduSkills for learning on demand, including the Alternative Learning System and courses under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA); and eAssist, which aims to enhance digital and financial literacy.
The NLP is optimistic that Tech4ED will make public libraries more responsive to the needs of different sectors.
“The Tech4ED platform offers very useful content like the Alternative Learning System (ALS) via eEduSkills, as well as easy access to government services under eGovServ,” Amar said.
He added that the NLP will contribute digitized materials to the Tech4ED project.
“This is a long-awaited partnership, and it’s happening now,” Blesila Velasco, Chief of the Public Libraries Division, said.
“This project is really innovative, collaborative, relevant and citizen-centric. Every member of the community will benefit.”