Marcos: No 'one size, fits all' in education

Published June 28, 2020, 3:06 PM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Hannah Torregoza

Senator Imee Marcos on Sunday reminded the Department of Education (DepEd) and all other agencies that there is no “one size, fits all” approach when it comes to education.

Committee on Economic Affairs hearing on Impact-Risk Assessment Report of the Novel Coronavirus Epidemic: Sen. Imee Marcos, chairperson of the Committee on Economic Affairs, asks resource persons to assess the economic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak in the Philippines and the withdrawal from the Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States of America during a public hearing Monday, March 9, 2020. (Joseph Vidal/Senate PRIB)
Sen. Imee Marcos (Joseph Vidal/Senate PRIB/File Photo/MANILA BULLETIN)

Marcos made the statement as she expressed concern over the DepEd’s apparent lack of preparation for the opening of classes on August 24 under a “new normal.”

The senator said she hopes the government would still provide some leeway for face-to-face classes especially in provinces or islands where the rate of COVID-19 cases is zero.

“For example, there are island provinces in Mindanao, Agusan, Kalinga where I think students can continue going to school normally. But they need to observe social distancing and they must minimize their time in school,” Marcos said in an interview over GMANewsTV.

“That can really be done. In short, there is no one-size fits all (approach) here. Let’s not treat all schools nationwide in the same manner, because we can’t compare other cities’ situation with the other places,” she said.

DepEd officials earlier insisted on implementing distance or online learning programs despite the appeal of private schools to review their “non-negotiable” requirements in order to avoid marginalizing private institutions struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I believe the COVID-19 crisis is providing us an opportunity to deviate from what we call a one size, fits all approach,” the senator stressed.

Observing DepEd’s response during the various committee hearings of the Senate on the issue, Marcos said it is clear that education authorities and teachers themselves are still grappling with how they can teach students through blended learning while there is a threat of a COVID-19infection.

“I suggest that we activate all school boards, because it is clear the COVID-19 situation in some provinces actually differs from other places,” she pointed out, adding that school principals and local government units (LGUs) should be given flexibility to decide on their own.

“If you’re in Quezon City, it is really hard to conduct face-to-face classes, but in areas like in Cordillera region, you can still hold face-to-face classes even for one hour,” she pointed out.

Aside from DepEd, Marcos said the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and Technical Education and Skills Authority (TESDA) should communicate more and decide soon how they can resolve the problem of communication and Internet connectivity especially in far-flung areas where WiFi access is problematic or none at all.

“There’s only two months left and yet they still can’t assess which of the schools are capable of distance learning,” she said, noting also that less than 50 percent of the number of teachers nationwide are prepared for distance or online teaching.