Radios for barrios

Published June 24, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin


By Jullie Y. Daza

Jullie Y. Daza
Jullie Y. Daza

Education is not cheap. Private schools won’t be raising their tuition and other fees, but parents complain that discounts on matriculation and “miscellaneous” are not enough to offset the savings due from distance learning. Parents of kids enrolled in public schools worry about the cost of gadgets and tablets, and how to afford one for each child when you have three or more? We have not heard from Teacher yet.

These are some of their worries, as narrated by Teacher X, who couldn’t risk identifying himself by name and location of his school when he was interviewed by DZRH:

DepEd would have teachers acting as messengers to distribute and deliver modules to pupils’ homes, in cases where the kids are not technologically equipped. “What happens when the dog bites? Delivery service is not our job,” Teacher X said. “We’re not messengers. This is a new assignment,” yes, on top of cleaning classrooms, election duty, etc. Teachers have enough on their hands – must they now put their feet to work as well? “Why are they throwing everything at us?”

Teachers receive a chalk allowance of P3,500 yearly. But with low-tech chalk giving way to hi-tech laptops, they’ll have to own one (priced at P40,000) and subscribe to a PLDT plan costing P299 monthly or P3,600 yearly.

Teachers are concerned that little children, the ones in kinder, prep, and the lower grades who are lucky to own their devices are nevertheless too young to be left on their own to learn from a screen showing a boring, talking adult without lots of action, music, and colorful characters moving in the background and telling a funny story. Why not a dry run first, weigh the results of the experiment before rushing headlong into something as esoteric as distance learning, as suggested by Sen. Francis Tolentino?

President Duterte – “No vaccine, no face-to-face classes” — has a down-to-earth solution: Give every child in remote villages a transistor radio (P300 each), let them listen and learn, participate in a classroom without classmates. Fortunately, Mr. President, ABS-CBN has the widest, farthest reach to teach, with five AM and 18 FM radio stations (plus 42 TV stations) covering the archipelago’s most farflung barrios and barangays. The solution is within sight and sound, Sir.