Over six million students skipped current school year, Gatchalian cites reasons

Published February 25, 2021, 7:07 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Poverty, COVID-19, weak internet signals

These, among others, are the reasons why more than six million elementary and high school students were not able to enroll this school year during the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic period.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate basic education committee, said the reasons for these are numerous and varied.

Others are afraid, they were told by their parents not to enroll until there are vaccines.

Other parents tell their children not to enroll because of poverty and just look for jobs.

There are still other reason such as the lack of gadgets and weak or no online internet connections.

‘’Yung solusyon ho diyan naisabatas na ho yung Alternative Learning System Act yung batas na magpapatibay po ng Alternative Learning System at ito po ay isang mekanismo para makabalik at mabigyan ho natin ng kaalaman yung mga nag dropout na mga bata (Solution to his is the enactment of an Alternative Learning System Act and this is a mechanism so teachings could be imparted to drop out students),’’ he said.

As much as possible, there should not be any drop out, he added.

“Nanawagan po ako sa ating mga lokal na pamahalaan, sa ating mga magulang na kahit na hirap ho ang distance learning at hirap gamitin ang self-learning modules ipagpatuloy natin yung pag-aaral dahil nakakatakot po itong pagtigil ng pag-aaral baka hindi na ho bumalik at baka tuluyan makalimutan yung mga pinag-aaralan nila noong nakaraan (I call on our local government, on the parents that distance learning modules are difficult to use, but students should continue their studies because they might forget  what they have learned if they don’t go to school,’’  Gatchalian said during a radio interview.

  Gatchalian conceded that there are places where internet services are really bad.

He said parents and students have difficulty in answering self-learning modules.

Gatchalian did not mince words when he lashed out at telecommunication companies (Telcos) for their poor services.

‘’Sa totoo lang nakakabwisit na ho dahil kahit dito sa Valenzuela landline na, mabagal pa rin ang internet. Yung iba, meron pong data plan eh mabagal yung internet. Yung iba merong landline at data plan pero walang internet ((Truth be told, here in Valenzuela {city}, even landlines are bad)In others, there are data plans but it is still slow. In others, there is a landline and data plan but there is no internet),’’ he pointed out.

‘’Ang nakakalungkot dito at nakakainis pa, nagrereklamo ka na pero patuloy pa rin yung pagpapadala ng billing kaya talagang malaki rin ang pagkukulang ng mga telcos at inamin naman ho nila yan pero wala naman hong magagawa yung pag-amin kung wala naman nangyayaring solusyon (What is worse is that you keep on complaining but they continue billing you, Telcos have big shortcomings and they admit there are shortcomings but there are no solutions in sight),’’ he added.

Gatchalian then called on the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) and the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) to look into this big problem.

He said that the support of telcos in distance learning is of utmost importance .

Gatchalian said it is correct to say that    the business sector is also suffering from  slow internet signals.