Various student groups slammed the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHED) decision to continue implementing flexible learning in the coming school years.
Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP) said the new policy is “anti-poor” and would worsen the students’ mental and physical hardships.
“Lubos na isinisiwalat ng pahayag ni Popoy [De Vera] na walang pagtanaw ang CHED sa tunay na kalagayan ng kabataan at kabataang estudyante sa kasalukuyan. Karamihan ngayon sa estudyante at kawani ay nahihirapan sa distance learning program (Popoy De Vera’s statement makes it clear that CHED is not aware of the true plight of the youth and young students. Most of the students are having a hard time catching up during the distance learning program),” SCMP lamented.
Even after a year of distance learning, many students still lack the proper gadget to deal with online classes, the group said.
“Ang pahayag ni Popoy De Vera ay naglilinaw lamang na wala talaga sa plano ng mga dapat na nangangasiwa sa pagharap ng krisis ng pagkatuto ang ligtas na pagbabalik-eskwela na nagbabalangkas sa paglalaan ng komprehensibong pagtugon sa pandemyang COVID-19 (Popoy De Vera’s statement only shows that the safe return to school outlined in the provision of comprehensive plan and response to the COVID-19 pandemic is not really in the plan of those who should be in charge of dealing with the learning crisis),” SCMP added.
De Vera’s statement is an admission that they have no plan to address the root problems of the current learning setup, according to Rise for Education Alliance – High School (R4E).
“Pinapatunayan ng pagpapatupad ng ganitong panukala ang matagal nang isinasampal sa CHED at [Department of Education]: sila ay malayo ang agwat sa lapat na danas ng estudyante at mga guro (The implementation of such measure proves CHED at DepEd’s gap between the experience of students and teachers),” R4E said.
“Bukod sa pang-ekonomikong bigwas ng kasalukuyang kalagayan, ang bigat ng ganitong moda ng pag-aaral ay tumatagos sa antas ng pangkalusugang kaisipan ng kabataan na sya ring nagiging dahilan ng kahirapan upang aktwal na matuto nang lubos (Apart from the economic blow of the current situation, the weight of this mode of learning worsen the mental health of the youth which makes it difficult to actually learn),” the group underscored.
Meanwhile, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) renewed calls for “Ligtas na balik eskwela” (safe return to schools) instead of pushing through with flexible learning.
“[One] would only enable more chances of suicide, dropout, and dreams given up. Rather than submerge themselves with the digital shift, it is advised to respond more with free, nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented ways such as efficient vaccination rollout, intensified contract tracing, systematic isolation, and regular issuance of financial aids,” CEGP said.
CEGP added that the new policy would further make education “an inaccessible privilege.”
In a webinar of May 21, De Vera said CHED has adopted a new policy that flexible learning will “continue in school year 2021 and thereafter.”
“There is no going back to the traditional, full-packed face-to-face classrooms. If we go back to the traditional face-to-face classroom, we run the risk of exposing our stakeholders to the same risks if another pandemic comes in,” he explained.