Ensure that Oct. 5 school opening will not be postponed again, DepEd told

A federation of teachers trooped to the Department of Education (DepEd) in Pasig City Monday to urge the agency to ensure that preparations will be in place ahead of the scheduled school opening on Oct. 5.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines presented the “seven demands” to DepEd that would help ensure that the Oct. 5 school opening “will not be postponed again.”

ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said that the five months of “failure to deliver education” have been too long a denial of the youth's basic right.

“The government has no one to blame but its own neglect and ineptitude,” he said. “Time is of essence, we have to ensure that class opening is well-prepared on Oct. 5," he added.

The group also presented a “To Do” list to DepEd and asked the agency to “make a weekly report on the progress of preparations for the seven demands it presented.”

For ACT, funding requisites is very crucial to ensure that the Oct. 5 school opening will proceed. “The foremost urgent need is sufficient funding as this will ensure the provision of all other requisites,” Basilio said.

While limited face-to-face classes will not start until January 2021, ACT said that teachers and staff are already reporting on-site. Given this, the group also called on DepEd to institute preventive health measures and guarantee health protection and benefits for education workers.

Basilio noted that one of the topmost issues with the Aug. 24 opening is the unavailability of centralized modules. Previously, ACT reported struggles on the ground to produce local modules in anticipation of the Central Office's delayed provision of such. “As the postponement bought DepEd more time to produce these, we expect that by Oct. 5, students will get one set of modules each,” he said.

The group also reiterated its call for the national government to ensure the provision of needed laptops, gadgets, and a P1,500 Internet allowance for all teachers and indigent learners.

ACT is also pushing for a “pass or fail” grading system for this school year. “Old evaluation systems are inapplicable to remote modalities and don't ensure quality and relevant education amid the crisis,” Basilio said.

The group also urged DepEd to include the pandemic education in the curriculum. “As such, the youth’s education shall be grounded on their realities and shall help them and the country surmount the health and economic crises confronting us,” Basilio added.