The Department of Education in the Philippines is helping students virtually graduate during Covid-19 following a nationwide deployment of Microsoft 365.
Following widespread community quarantine measures - triggering an indefinite suspension of schools across all levels - the government agency partnered with Microsoft to roll out the #Hello2020Graduates program, delivered via an online ‘graduation-in-a-box’ solution.
In addition to Office web applications, cloud and security services, Microsoft Teams allows schools the ability to host graduation ceremonies through the Teams’ Live Event feature, housing a maximum of 10,000 users. Backed by an approved technical guide and manual, the initiative was created to follow the “standard graduation flow” which includes the marching of students and delivery of speeches and farewell addresses.
The offering is available to all public and private schools across 17 regions nationwide, with region 11 - spanning the Davao area - the first to adopt the collaboration platform on 13 May.
Three schools were involved in the pilot run - Ruparan National High School in Digos City, Cornelio Reta Sr. Elementary School in Davao City and Panabo City Senior High School in Panabo City - with 631 students participating in the virtual ceremonies.
“Students, parents and their teachers deserve this celebration, not only to culminate their efforts from the past school year, but to prepare them for what comes next," said Evelyn Fetalvero, regional director of the Department of Education. "This is a first in the Philippines and region 11 is proud to have provided precedence for other schools and Regions in the country to follow."
Since the pilot phase, five more schools have held virtual graduations in region 11, housing 831 students in the process. Collectively, 1,462 students from eight schools in region 11 have so far leveraged the Microsoft 365 platform.
“Graduation from any educational level is more than just another step in the journey, it’s a recognition of achievements, hard work and more importantly, it is a symbol of hope,” added Alain Del B. Pascua, undersecretary of the Department of Education. “In this challenging time, the importance of celebrations like this are greater than ever. Through this, we want to not only show that these milestones can be celebrated safely, but that they should.”
The deployment follows a three-month collaboration project between the government department and Microsoft, in a joint effort to enable collaboration and remote learning for schools across the country.
“The future of the Philippines lies in the hands of the brilliant young minds sitting in its classrooms today and we are privileged to empower not just their learning experience, but also their future,” said Andres Ortola, country general manager of Philippines at Microsoft. “Secretary Briones, Usec. Pascua and the Department of Education have worked throughout this challenging time to ensure students all over the country retain access to learning and enrichment.
“Now, they get a chance to celebrate this great and important occasion not just in their academic pursuits but in their lives as whole. We’re excited to see more schools activated with this initiative in the coming months.”
The deployment coincides with the Supreme Court of the Philippines also rolling out Microsoft 365 as the communications platform of choice amid plans to run virtual courtrooms in response to Covid-19.
As reported by Channel Asia, the highest court in the land has moved to improve “efficiency and productivity” through the roll out of videoconferencing hearings leveraging Microsoft technologies, spanning web applications, cloud services and security solutions.
First unveiled in July 2017, Microsoft 365 was released as a single offering combining Windows 10, Office 365, enterprise mobility and security capabilities, representing a shift in how Redmond goes to market with its commercial offerings.