By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has filed a resolution calling for a Senate inquiry on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s basic education system.
Gatchalian said the resolution, Senate Resolution 391, aims to identify the recovery and transition measures to ensure a sustainable and resilient education system during times of emergencies.
The senator also said the inquiry aims to guide how the government task force on COVID-19 can respond well and mitigate the effects of COVID-19 in schools which are now gearing up for the reopening of classes.
Earlier, the government suspended classes in all levels at the National Capital Region (NCR) from March 10 to March 14 following the first local transmission of COVID-19 in the country.
However, the declaration of a Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) on March 16 led to the early culmination of school year 2019-2020, which forced schools nationwide to dispense with the giving of final examinations.
“Hindi lamang natin sisikaping makabangon ang ating sistema ng edukasyon mula sa naging epekto ng COVID-19, kailangan nating patatagin ang kakayahan ng ating mga paaralan na ipagpatuloy ang pagbibigay ng dekalidad na edukasyon sa panahon ng mga krisis at sakuna,” (We will not only aspire to help our education system rise from the effects of the COVID-19, but we also need to strengthen the capabilities of our schools and pursue giving quality education in times of crisis and emergencies),” Gatchalian said.
The chairman of the Senate committee on basic education, arts and culture, pointed out that the global health crisis also aggravated the plight of vulnerable and marginalized learners and the existing disparities with the education system.
He also added that students confined to their homes face other risks such as poor nutrition, mental health problems, and increased exposure to violence and exploitation.
But most importantly, Gatchalian stressed the need to prepare the students to adopt to a “new normal” in the education system.
The senator said preparing students, parents, and teachers to accept “learning from home” as the new norm is paramount, noting that these sudden shifts can cause additional stress and confusion.
“Higit sa lahat, kailangan din nating ihanda nang maigi ang mga mag-aaral sa tinatawag na new normal na sistema ng edukasyon, (We need to prepare learners well to what we call the new normal in our system of education),” he reiterated.