By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo is concerned with how the Department of Education (DepEd) will implement online learning for students at home when some areas in the country lack access to technology.
This concern is magnified by the short preparation time before the scheduled start of classes on August 24.
Robredo cited her own home province of Camarines Sur, where some areas have no stable internet connection and reliable telecommunication infrastructure.
“Mayroon pa rin mga barangay, mayroon pa ring mga lugar na wala talagang signal. So kapag online, papaano kaya iyon (There are still barangays and others areas that have no signal. So if it’s online, how would it be implemented)?” she asked.
The DepEd already announced the opening of classes will commence in August, but this does not mean student would physically return to schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The department is pushing for information communication technology (ICT) platforms, television, and radio in delivering lessons under its blended and distant learning modalities.
DepEd said it is seeking help from local government units to facilitate online learning at home.
Robredo expressed reservation about the agency’s policies and decisions on transitioning online for the upcoming school year.
She said that not all LGUs are capable to provide gadgets or devices such as tablets and smart phones for online classes, while some public schools can’t provide printed module materials for students.
“Kung mayaman iyong LGU, kaya mag-provide. Pero papaano kung hindi mayaman iyong LGU (If the LGU is rich, it can provide. But what if the LGU is not)?” she asked.
“Iyong iba sinasabi na pupunta sa school para mag-print, pero may mga schools kasi wala talaga signal, so ewan ko kung paano gagawin (Others are saying they would go to the school to print the modules, but some schools don’t really have a signal, so I don’t know how would it be done),” Robredo said.
The Vice President said the DepEd must ensure all students have access to education in this time of pandemic, not only for those who can afford it.
“Ang pinakamahalaga dito walang diskriminasyon sa mahihirap (The most important here is there is no discrimination to the poor),” she stressed.
“Kaya sana pag-isipan nang maayos, na mapakinggan lalo na iyong mga teachers na galing sa malayong lugar. Sana moving forward, mabigyan ng boses itong lahat na mayroong mga concerns (I hope they will think about it thoroughly, the teachers from far-flung areas will be heard. In moving forward, those who have concerns will be given a voice),” she said.