Education Secretary Leonor Briones expressed her appreciation to President Duterte for his support to ensure that learning will continue for millions of Filipino students this school year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We really appreciate the support coming from the President,” Briones said in a phone interview with the Manila Bulletin. “Our plans and programs are under his instructions and we appreciate that he takes our views and opinions into consideration,” she added.
Days before the opening of public schools nationwide on Oct. 5, Briones said that the Department of Education (DepEd) is working non-stop to ensure that the requirements for the distance/blended learning approach to be used in lieu of in-person classes would be met.
However, teachers groups such as the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines and the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) have been raising concerns on the school opening readiness of DepEd. Citing reports from the field, the leftist groups have been pointing out several concerns and issues that have yet to be addressed by DepEd.
Majority of these concerns include the insufficient number of printed Self Learning Modules (SLMs) for students and lack of safety measures that would ensure the health of teachers who are forced to go to schools for school opening requirements – among others.
For TDC, if such concerns will remain unaddressed when the classes start next week, it would be better to reconsider the school opening and move it to January next year.
However, Briones said that postponing the school opening will not necessarily address all the issues that are being brought up. “Even the Senate and the Congress do not support this so-called ‘academic freeze’ because they are attending to other pressing issues such as the budget,” she explained.
While there might be some school opening issues that are yet to be completely resolved, Briones said “waiting for perfection” is futile because there is “no such thing as being completely ready.”