Senator Christopher “Bong” Go today urged the Department of Education (DepEd) and other education stakeholders to use the time provided by the postponement of the 2020-2021 school year opening to develop and further improve flexible distance learning programs.
This would ease the burden on students and teachers who are still struggling to adapt to new modes of learning and teaching.
The Executive Branch first reset the opening of the 2020-2021 school year from early June to August 24. This was further reset to October 5 as the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to stalk the country.
“Gamitin natin ang dagdag na oras upang plantsahin at ayusin ng mabuti ang lahat ng mga plano sa pag-conduct ng flexible o blended learning. Siguraduhin nating magiging maayos ang implementasyon para hindi na madagdagan ang paghihirap ng mga tao,” Go explained. (Let us use the added time to iron out all the plans in conducting flexible or blended learning. Let us ensure that the implementation would be smooth to avoid putting more burden on our countrymen.)
“Siguraduhin rin natin na lahat ng mga estudyante ay mabibigyan ng pantay na oportunidad sa ilalim ng ating learning continuity plan in all levels of education. Despite the current health crisis, our aim is to ease the burden on our students and also their families,” he further emphasized. (Let us ensure that all students be given equal opportunity under our learning continuity plan in all levels of education.)
As chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, Go said that while the government understands the importance of education, it also places the highest priority on the right to life and upholds the welfare of the citizenry.
“We can continue to improve our education system and bridge the gaps of learning without giving more stress physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially,” he added.
“Huwag po natin biglain at pilitin, at baka naman dumugo. Kapag binigla natin ang pagbalik sa normal ng klase, buhay po ng mga bata ang itinataya natin. Kapag pinilit natin ang makabagong paraan ng online learning, mahihirapan rin ang estudyante kung hindi sila makapag-adjust ng maayos,” he added. (Let us not hurry or insist as it might cause difficulties. The lives of the children would be at risk if we conduct an abrupt opening of school classes. Students would be put in a difficult situation if we insist on the new online learning.)
Go earlier appealed to the Executive branch to postpone the opening of the new school year to give more time for students, teachers, learning institutions, education authorities and the general public to better prepare and fine tune the country’s flexible continuity learning plans.
“Katulad ng sinabi ko noon, dapat siguraduhin na makakapag-aral ang ating mga estudyante sa maayos at ligtas na paraan. This is also in line with the President’s position of always prioritizing the safety and welfare of our people,” Go said as he consistently emphasized that in the absence of a COVID-19 vaccine, no face-to-face classes must be conducted as well. (As I have said before, students going back to school must be under an orderly and safe condition.)
“Mas magiging kawawa ang mga estudyante kung ituloy natin pero hindi pa handa ang lahat. Mas kawawa rin ang mga teachers. Hirap na po ang mga Pilipino, huwag na nating dagdagan pa ng pressure ang mga bata at mga magulang nila,” he added. (Students would be put at risk if everything is not prepared. Our countrymen are suffering. Let us not add pressure on the children and their parents.)
Go stressed that postponing opening of classes is not just to provide government more time to prepare, but also to provide students and their families time to recuperate and recover from the socio-economic impact of the crisis so they can be more prepared to attend class.
“Sa totoo lang, marami pang mga estudyante ngayon na walang pambili ng mga gamit pang eskwela at walang access sa computer, tablet o iba pang gadgets dahil nawalan ng trabaho o pagkakakitaan ang kanilang pamilya. Karamihan rin wala pang pambayad ng matrikula o iba pang gastusin,” Go said. (The truth is, many of the students have no money to buy their school supplies and have no access to computers, tablets or other gadgets because their parents lost their jobs. Most of them also do not have money for matriculation and other school expenses.)
Go also encouraged the education department to make sure that all teachers are adequately equipped and trained to use the new teaching platforms.
“Ayaw nating maipasa ang burden sa estudyante at ma-pressure sila dahil sa makabagong paraan ng pag-aaral kung hindi pa naman po handa ang lahat,” he added. (We don’t want to transfer the burden to the students the new modes of learning if all are not ready.)
The senator from Davao impressed upon DepEd to ensure that limited access or knowledge of technology should not be a cause for Filipino students to fail.
“Sana naman po ay walang bumagsak na estudyante dahil sa kakulangan sa kagamitan, walang access sa teknolohiya, o hindi sapat na kaalaman sa bagong modes of learning na maiimplementa ngayon,” Go said. (I hope that students would not flunk for lack of materials, no access to technology or have no adequate knowledge under the new modes of learning to be implemented.)