(June 30, 2020) – A party-list group representing teachers in the lower house of Congress on Tuesday hit the education department for its plan to resume school amid the coronavirus pandemic, warning that it may leave out millions with no means to engage in alternative learning.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) in a statement on Tuesday said the enrollment figure of nearly 16 million returning students in August shows that the agency’s plan is “not attuned to the people’s current situation” and would only burden families grappling with the crisis.
“The weakness of DepEd’s plan starts with its refusal to accept that our situation now is far from being normal,” the group said. “It pushes for the continuity of formal education as usual, while seeing that modalities in the delivery of education is the only problem.”
The education department said some 15.9 million students, mostly from public schools, have so far enrolled under the “blended” learning which will forego face-to-face classes.
A Senate hearing last week had revealed that less than half of the teachers had completed the training for the distance learning. Teachers in far-flung areas are also reportedly having difficulty in getting signal for connecting online.
But Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio on One PH’s program “Sa Totoo Lang” last June 26 said the agency is still on track of its preparations.
The department had also long said that printed learning modules will be provided for students who have no access to Internet or gadgets.
In a regular briefing today, government spokesman Harry Roque Jr. announced the nationwide enrollment for public schools has been extended to July 15, more than a month before classes resume.
But, the party-list said, a temporary “non-formal adaptive” learning program should instead be implemented, where content will focus more on teaching children to cope with the crisis.
“It should guide and aid our children in understanding their current predicament, and equip them with the correct attitude and sufficient knowledge on how they can help their families and communities to survive and surmount the crisis,” they added.
President Rodrigo Duterte had shunned the possibility of holding face-to-face learning until a vaccine for the deadly respiratory disease has been discovered.
In his weekly report to Congress on the coronavirus crisis, the Philippine leader said government has put a 700 million peso budget to provide Internet connection to around 7,000 public schools across the country, which is set to be completed in the next 10 months. (Christian de Lano Deiparine/MM)
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