Various groups on Friday said that the decision of the Department of Education (DepEd) to postpone the opening of School Year (SY) 2020-2021 scheduled on August 24 is a clear “admission of failure” to make the necessary preparations for safe, quality, and accessible education for children.
The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) and the Salinlahi Alliance for Children's Concerns, in separate statements, said that the government’s decision to move the school opening to Oct. 5 -- upon the recommendation of the DepEd -- validates the concerns that were being raised by teachers, parents, and students.
For NUSP, the memorandum issued by President Duterte manifests that the DepEd has been “irresponsible for the opening of classes despite criticisms and oppositions” on its first plan to start the classes this August. “It is an admission of the unpreparedness for distance learning and a concession that DepEd has not been listening to the concrete demands of the students, teachers, staff, and parents for a long time now,” the group said.
Meanwhile, Salinlahi said that the recommendation of the DepEd to move the school opening “clearly validates the claims” of various organizations as well as the general public and the lack of enough preparations to resume classes.
While moving the school opening is a “positive development,” the groups urged DepEd and the government to use the remaining time before the Oct. 5 school opening to make things right.
The government, Salinlahi said, must ensure that “there is sufficient funding allocation for the programs and plans” of DepEd regarding the continuity of learning for children in the time of pandemic and the education department “must ensure that no one is left behind” by taking proactive measures which will guarantee a 100% enrollment rate among students and learners in private and public schools.
DepEd, Salinlahi added, must also “recognize the problems regarding the lack of access to technology of the majority of students and teachers that hampers the smooth implementation of its distance learning program” and produce and distribute the modules at the earliest possible time.
For NUSP, the national government must “pave the way for the safe, accessible, and quality education for all” after postponing the Aug. 24 school opening.
Given the “overwhelming problems haunting the education system” as well as the fact that the health situation has worsened as reflected by the continued rise in the number of COVID-19 infections in the country, both groups urged the government not to waste time.