The groups said that such decision is an “affirmation that the agency is indeed unprepared for this school year’s blended learning.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – Following the announcement of the Department of Education (DepEd) postponing the opening of classes, teachers and child rights advocates called on the agency “not to waste time and address the concerns raised by various stakeholders.”
On Aug. 14, Education Secretary Eleonor Briones announced that President Duterte has approved the recommendation to move the school opening from Aug. 24 to October 5.
The groups said that such decision “is an affirmation that the agency is indeed unprepared for this school year’s blended learning.”
For the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), DepEd was pushed to move the opening of classes due to the strong clamor of stakeholders which is “grounded on very valid and sound arguments which the agency can no longer deny.”
Just days ago, the Senate also recommended delaying the school opening.
According to ACT, the printing of the learning module alone is not yet completed. Public school teachers interviewed by Bulatlat also said that even the school supplies for the students as well as teachers to be provided by the local government have not been distributed.
Kristhean Navales, president of the Quezon City Public School Teachers’ Association, said that in Quezon City alone, the student population is at 400,000. The target distribution of gadgets for students would be from August to September, he said.
In a statement, Briones said the agency will “use the deferment to provide relief to the logistical limitations faced by the areas placed under the modified enhanced community quarantine and to fill in the remaining gaps of the school opening that we are currently addressing.”
Child rights group Salinlahi said that given the overwhelming problems faced by the education system and the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, DepEd should double its efforts to address the concerns raised by different groups in distance learning.
Meanwhile, ACT said that the Duterte administration must “endeavor to resolve the many problems that make school opening on August 24 precarious to the stakeholders’ health and counterproductive to the fulfillment of the people’s right to education.”
The group reiterated the requisites that must be fulfilled by the government to ensure the delivery of safe, accessible, and quality education amid the pandemic:
1. Effectively control the spread of the pandemic and address the economic crisis;
2. Ensure the safety of schools by filling in the shortages on facilities, personnel and equipment, and installing comprehensive health protection mechanisms;
3. Provide all the needs of the distance learning modalities.