WITH the approval of the final school opening date, the government was urged to ensure that schools are adequately equipped for the mode of learning.
President Rodrigo Duterte has approved September 13 as the first day of the school year 2021-2022.
However, due to the threat of COVID-19, it is still impossible to conduct face-to-face classes and the government may still impose online and blended learning.
ACT Teacher Party-list Representative France Castro said the Department of Education (DEPED) must guarantee that schools are properly equipped for the mode of learning to be imposed and teachers should be properly supported with the different modes of learning.
Castro said the DEPED must limit school dropouts due to lack of access to quality education.
“The Duterte administration through the DepEd must ensure that they make steps towards safe reopening of schools and ensure that the youth would have better access to safe, quality, and effective education,” Castro said.
There have been studies and recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States, UNICEF and proposals from the Philippine Pediatric Society on how to safely reopen schools to conduct face-to-face classes amid the pandemic.
These include the strict use of masks, imposing physical distance, mapping out the country to determine risk levels and determining the readiness of school facilities.
Thousands of school children have been dropping out of their classes, teachers continue to be overworked, under supported and underpaid and distance blended learning continues to be a burden to the teachers, parents and the students.
Castro added that the DEPED and the Duterte administration should face the education crisis in the country with utmost urgency as the pandemic only worsened the perennial problems with our education system.
“Hindi rin maaaring iasa lamang sa pagbabakuna ng mga kabataan at guro sa muling pagbubukas ng face-to-face na pag-aaral. Sa bagal at kakulangan ng mga bakuna na mayroon ang ating bansa, malabong sapat na nabakunahan na ang lahat ng mga guro at kabataan para sa paulit-ulit na sinasabi ng Pangulo na ‘no vaccine, no face-to-face classes’ sa darating na pasukan. Ngayon pa lang, dapat gumagawa na ng paraan ang ating pamahalaan upang sa lalong madaling panahon ay makabalik na sa pisikal na pagbubukas ng klase ang mga kabataan na hindi lamang umaasa sa bakuna,” she said.
The solon stressed that DEPED should exhaust all its time, resources and efforts to set up the policies, facilities and equip teachers and students for the face-to-face classes during the COVID-19 pandemic.