Group expresses concern on ‘alarming rate of learning loss’ among students amid extended lockdown

Published April 8, 2021, 12:57 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

A teachers group expressed alarm on the “worsening” learning loss among students – especially at the basic education level with the prolonged enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in areas under the National Capital Region (NCR)-plus.

(JANSEN ROMERO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines, in a statement issued Thursday, April 8, said that more and more students are having difficulties continuing their education due the extended lockdowns.

Based on the reports it gathered, ACT said that distance learning further “suffers” under ECQ as in-person module distribution was halted due to mobility restrictions. It added that online class participation “further dropped” – as families struggle to provide for connectivity expenses.

“We are seeing an alarming rate of learning loss among students, worsened by the limitations imposed by an aidless ECQ,” ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said.

While the officials of the Department of Education (DepEd) – on multiple occasions – declared that learning must continue amid the pandemic, Basilio asked how this can be possible with the challenges confronting both learners and teachers.

“The already inaccessible distance learning became farther from the reach of most of our students—many of whom have been reeling from the health and economic crises since last year, where’s the aid needed?” Basilio asked.

Citing reports it gathered, ACT said that “module distribution in many areas in NCR-plus, particularly in various cities in Metro Mania, Region IV-A (Calabarzon), and in Bulacan, is being done via social media.

In particular, ACT claimed that self-learning modules (SLMs) are distributed to students using Facebook messenger where teachers send digital copies of the modules, photos of learning materials, and activities to multiple group chats.

Despite this, ACT said that many teachers noted that a “large number of students were unable to access the materials due to lack of proper gadgets and internet connectivity.”

This, ACT noted, leaving educators “at a loss” on how to reach the students affected. Some teachers reported that they were “compelled to carry out physical distribution and retrieval of modules despite the health risks.”

In such cases, ACT noted that teachers print and sort the materials inside the campus and leave boxes at the gates where parents can collect and drop off modules with minimal interaction.

“Teachers’ dilemma goes like this: on the one hand, we can opt for the safest option of doing everything online but many, if not most, will likely be left behind; on the other, we can brave our way to our schools and physically distribute modules, risking our safety and that of parents and nearby communities,” Basilio said. “All because the government continues to abandon the education sector, with these pressing concerns falling squarely on our shoulders,” he added.

 
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