HOUSE Assistant Minority Leader and ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro on Monday called on Commission on Higher Education chairman Prospero De Vera to assess the situations of students and
teachers in higher education institutions under the blended distance learning before saying flexible distance learning would be the norm for the next school year.
“What is the plan of the Commission on higher Education to support teachers and students struggling in blended distance learning? Has the CHED conducted assessments on the situation of teachers and students? Before saying that ‘flexible learning’ would be the ‘new normal’ for higher education institutions, the CHED should have an assessment about teachers and students amid the one year of flexible distance learning,” Castro said. “Many have called for academic ease due to the mental, physical and financial strain that the flexible distance learning required from the students and teachers. What has CHED done to address these concerns for the next school year?”
“Saying that ‘there’s no going back’ to face to face learning is a very dangerous statement and threatens access to quality higher education for many Filipinos,” Castro added. “What has the CHED done to support the students and teachers amid the flexible distance learning in the past year? How many students had to stop their studies due to lack of access to their online classes or modules? These are questions that the CHED has yet to answer before making statements saying, ‘there’s no going back to face-to-face learning.”
“Dapat nga aralin na ng CHED, saan ang mga lugar na zero at low risk sa COVID na maaaring ligtas na makapag face-to-face ang mga mag-aaral.
Gumawa dapat ng mga hakbang ang CHED para mapabilis ang pagroll-out ng bakuna sa mga guro at kawani ng tertiary education,” Castro added.
“Hindi rin dapat tinatanggal ang posibilidad ng face-to-face sa sinasabi ni CHED chair De Vera. Kaya naman napakahalaga ng assessment nila upang malaman ang sitwasyon ng mga guro at mag-aaral sa nakalipas na taon at paano susulong ang susunod na mga taon na hindi nasasakripisyo ang access ng mga kabataan sa edukasyon at kaligtasan ng mga guro at kawani.”
“Face-to-face classes still provide better quality education for our students. Unless the Commission on Higher Education and the Duterte administration follow recommendations for safe and effective back-to-school, our youth will continue to be denied their right to quality and accessible education,” Castro said. “Saying that technologies invested for flexible learning would be wasted should not be a reason for not preparing for the return to face-to-face classes. New technologies and competencies should aid learning and not hinder students and teachers from safely returning to school.”
“We have long called for higher budgetary support for State Universities and Colleges and other higher education institutions to address the perennial problems of shortages and class size, yet the Duterte administration continues to slash the budget of SUCs. Now more than ever, the Duterte administration should prioritize education and support teachers and students for the safe return to face-to-face classes,” Castro stated.