The House Minority bloc on Wednesday expressed doubts on the readiness of the Department of Education (DepEd) in implementing online learning under its Basic Education-Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP) when classes open on August 24.
The opposition lawmakers, led by House Minority Leader and Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido “Benny” Abante Jr., advised DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones to instead “set a date for the reopening of classes only when we are certain that the system and the teachers are ready.”
“There is no question we need to resume the education of our children, but the challenge is how do we do this,” Abante said in a virtual press briefing.
Abante said there is a need for the DepEd to pilot-test its learning continuity program in identified areas to identify the gaps and challenges before it scales up to the full roll-out of the system.
“Ngayon sabi ng DepEd (Now, DepEd said), they will be able to continue with classes via alternative modes, like distance education and online learning. But the infrastructure and equipment challenges are considerable, and we still have to consider the training our teachers will require under this new set up,” he said.
Abante said their group pushed for the adoption of a pass or fail grading system in the first term as teachers and school learner adjust to the new system.
Citing reports, he said there has been a “dismal turnout” of 15.9 million students for K to 12 public and private schools, as of the original deadline set by DepEd.
“This is 12 million pupils short of DepEd’s 28 million target, so enrollment has been extended until July 15 for the incoming school year,” he noted.
ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro asked the DepEd to look after the school learners who have yet to enroll for this school year.
“Dahil noong last year, ang enrolment natin ay 27.7 million, so kalahati pa ang dapat mag-enrol. Dapat magisip ang Department of Education asan kaya ito (Last year, our enrollment was 27.7 million, so half has yet to be enrolled. The DepEd should now think of scouting these unenrolled learners),” Castro said.
“The Deped should remember that we are in a pandemic, we saw that for three months the parents were not able to work.Our parents are really discerning if they would enroll their children or not, because economy will come first.”
The Makabayan lawmaker said the DepEd should also provide leeway to parents and students as far as enrollment is concerned.
“Wag mahigpit sa pagbibigay ng mga deadline sa enrollment. Remember, ang mga magulang ngayon pa lang pumapasok. Bigyan ng luwang ang estudyante at parents sa school year na ito (Don’t be strict in imposing deadline on enrollment. Remember, the parents just returned to work. The students and parents should be given leeway this school year),” Castro said.