An Iloilo-based startup is developing a portable educational toolkit (PET) to provide learning supplements in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA).
“We are a startup company focusing on education,” Ariel Lastica, advocacy manager of the iTeach PET, said in an interview on Thursday.
Lastica said iTeach PET addresses the educational gap, especially in far-flung areas where access to technology and other learning materials is difficult.
In some instances, learners have to walk three to four hours daily to go to school, or they would not report to their classes during bad weather, armed conflict, and the recent experience of quarantine protocols, causing delays in their education.
Lastica said the program is self-paced, technology-based and multi-intelligence learning material for children in remote communities.
It is a solar-powered technology solution similar to a mini-projector with built-in storage for digital learning materials but it does not intend to replace mainstream education, he added.
“We have partnered with teachers and education students to come up with modules,” he said.
The team is composed of Jarrah Brillantes, chief executive; Angelica Belarmino, educational manager; Nomer Arban, chief technology officer; Sarah Lemeric, chief finance officer; and Lastica with TechnoPH as the technology partner.
They are already working on their prototype and finalizing the materials initially focused on Science and Mathematics.
“These are the fundamentals of learning. If our content will focus on these first, the device can help them understand when they go to school,” Lastica said.
He said they study topics relevant to each grade level to make it more responsive.
The device will be free for target communities through possible donors or investors interested in buying the technology.
Teachers and barangay officials will serve as keepers of the device, lending them to learners that need necessary supplements.
iTeach PET received the Best (community) Impact startup award in the 2023 Moonshot TNK (Trabaho, Negosyo, and Konsyumer) Pitching Competition of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Sept. 8.
The competition aims to bolster local startups and enable them to advance their technological and creative solutions to address critical challenges in Western Visayas, particularly in health, poverty, education, and the environment, according to the DTI.
“We are finalizing our business details. We are looking for donors and possible funders, or investors to look at our device and for them to also see our proposed recipients. We are also communicating with local government units because they are the enablers,” he added.
He said they eyed to present their technology to possible investors in October or November this year. (PNA)