Sick Earth-Plague Day 312
MANILA, Philippines — Education Secretary Leonor Briones on Tuesday assured public school teachers and students that her office was acting promptly on their complaints after some questioned her declaration that the opening of classes was a “victory” against COVID-19.
“These problems [during the opening of classes] are being addressed immediately. What we still see as a challenge of course is connectivity but blended learning offers other learning modalities if online learning is not doable for them,” Briones said at a press briefing.
As public schools reopened on Monday, teachers reported that in some cases, the number of students dwindled by almost 50 percent by the end of the day due to connectivity problems.
Kris Navales, a teacher at General Roxas Elementary School, Quezon City, pointed out that the government could not declare victory if students were encountering problems.
There were 46 students in his Grade 4 class at the start of a synchronous online class using Google meet, but at the end of the 8-11 a.m. session, only 28 were present.
“It is easy to say that you have distributed learning materials to the children but as teachers, we are concerned with the child’s learning process especially during this time. We are hoping that by the end of this week, we teachers will be able to ensure quality education for our students,” Navales said in an interview.
Briones had suggested that teachers use other systems such as modular and television- or radio-based instruction.
Youth group Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan said that Briones’ victory “was the students’ suffering,” stressing that education for millions of Filipino students was underfunded and exclusive.
“This is outrageous. This is disgusting. This is our education being ground into dirt … If they refuse to heed our calls, we will shout down their doors,” it said in a statement.
For the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), the Department of Education (DepEd) “[remained] blind to the realities of teachers, learners and students” as it received “disturbing” reports about modules littered with errors and lacking some pages.
ACT secretary-general Raymond Basilio also noted the late issuance of Department Order No. 30, which amended the school calendar in line with the postponement of classes.
“Aside from the ridiculously late issuance of such, Oct. 5 was supposed to be the start of the formal conduct of classes but reports from the ground revealed no such thing happened,” he claimed.
Basilio said this was mainly due to “the unavailability of parts, or in some cases, entire subject modules, forcing teachers to come up with alternative activities or rush the printing and sorting of learning materials.”
Last week, the DepEd reported that it still had around 134.4 million of the printed self-learning modules that should be distributed to public schools around the country.
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