By Ellson Quismorio
Online classes for students? That’s crazy and unintentionally discriminatory.
Deputy Speaker and Surigao del Sur 1st district Rep. Prospero Pichay Jr. said the Department of Education (DepEd) should think of better ways to facilitate learning among Filipino students in the so-called “new normal.”
“That (online classes) is a crazy scheme. Yes, you can quote me on that,” Pichay told the Manila Bulletin.
Pichay pointed out the obvious in that “not all students have a computer at home.”
“This will isolate the pupils without computers, laptops, and internet connection. There are even areas in the country that don’t have access to electricity yet,” said the Mindanao solon and Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) stalwart.
What’s worse, according to Pichay, is the “discriminatory” nature of online classes, given the varying economic status of Filipino families.
“Maganda ang layunin nila with online classes. Wala namang intention to discriminate (They have good intentions with online learning. There is no intention to discriminate), but that is the effect: It will end up being discriminatory,” the House leader warned.
Online classes are part of the blended learning methods being espoused by DepEd for the scheduled reopening of classes on August 24 for school year 2020-21. By having virtual classes administered by teachers, students can lower the risk of contracting COVID-19 since they get to stay at home.
“Tigilan na nila yan (They should stop it already). They should think deeper,” said Pichay.
But if he would have his way, he would rather have classes postponed up until the time a COVID vaccine is available, echoing a previous statement of President Duterte.
“The President has spoken: No vaccine, no classes. Ano pa ba mas maliwanag doon? (Can anything else be clearer?)” he said.
“A one-year deferment of classes won’t make a difference for the students. Learning is not just done inside the classroom. It also happens at home. Life is about continuous learning,” Pichay said.