This is an Entry to the Government Best Practice Recognition Awards
Barangay Learning Hub
City Government of Balanga, Bataan
Best practice Focus Area(s)
Customer and citizen focus, Human Resource
Launched in February of 2015, the Barangay Learning Hub (BLH) is a community resource facility established by the City Government in partnership with the Multi-Sectoral Governance Coalition (MSGC) group and the barangays. The hub is equipped with computers with fast internet access, educational software, videos, and e-books. Patterned after internet cafes, the hub serves as a gateway to give equal access to the needy, particularly in coastal and far-flung areas. It is manned by facilitators who have undergone training and can direct users how to navigate computers.
Background and Problem
Balanga City anchored its vision in education to foster growth and development. Local leaders promote the educational programs of the city to empower its people to be contributing members of society. Numerous programs and projects have translated into positive results. Despite these efforts, there is still a great divide that can be seen especially in public schools. In 18 public elementary schools within the city, only one classroom per school has computer units which are then shared by more or less 400 students. Instances wherein a student can do hands-on activity are very minimal which resulted in digital inexperience, Added to this dynamic is the increasing number of OSY, which now numbers around 4,000. Also, students in formal schools show dismal results in the National Achievement Tests.
Solution and Impact
To effectively address the problem of the digital divide, change has to come from the grassroots. Since the city has an existing program that supports and strengthens family, local leaders looked into the next level of society—the community. The City Government tapped the help of the MSGC which was created in 2011 through Executive Order Number 6. It is a conglomeration of non-government organizations and CEOs from the business sectors and civic society organizations. The group provided the computers for the first learning hub. The Sangguniang Barangay identified existing facilities that can serve as a learning hub. The barangay is also in charge of security and facilitates the repair of the facility.
Third, the city tasked different departments to work on the project. The collaborative effort exerted by the parties resulted in the launching of the first hub in February of 2016. After six months, the city added two new hubs. In a span of three years, the Barangay Learning Hubs have helped thousands of users with learning needs.
The project is a relatively new initiative that is slowly gaining ground and has been benchmarked. In three years, the city was able to establish 14 learning hubs that catered to users from the upland areas down to the coastal areas. This initiative helped the city bag the National Literacy Award for Component Cities in 2016 and the Hall of Fame Award in 2017. Also, two learning hubs were given the Plaque of Recognition by DICT. Plans include opening learning hubs in the remaining eleven barangays of the city.