Education stakeholders on Saturday launched a movement which aims to engage the national government in fulfilling their pressing demands on education continuity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines led the virtual launch of the Safe, Equitable, Quality, and Relevant Education (SEQuRe), a multi-stakeholder education movement composed of teachers, education experts, leading academics, students, parents, and advocates.
In a Manifesto of Unity, the stakeholders maintained that the government should “place in its priorities the delivery of quality education in a safe and accessible manner while the country grapples with the uncontrolled pandemic and unprecedented jobs crisis.”
Signatories of the movement claimed that the “sorry state” of the Philippine education system was further magnified during the pandemic with schools unsafe for classroom learning. “Its backward technological infrastructure is incapable of effectively facilitating distance learning,” they added.
With the school opening in the public schools being postponed twice this year, the group expressed concern that more Filipino children will continue to suffer due to “inadequately-prepared school opening plans as well as the lack of access of poor families to quality education.”
Aside from challenges in the public education system, the group said the private education sector is also affected due to “devastating drop in the number of enrollees” this school year due to thousands of students transferring to public schools. “This has resulted in the retrenchment of thousands of private school teachers and employees, as well as the diminution of wages and benefits,” SEQuRe added.
The movement said such major problems in the education sector should be “addressed decisively” to enable the public and private school systems – in both basic and higher levels – to deliver education to the youth as a basic social service.