Youth group finds Palace’s delayed reaction over students’ poor aptitude ‘more alarming’

A youth group slammed the Malacañang for its “late expression of alarm” over the poor learning results among Filipino learners as reported by the World Bank.

Based on the World Bank report, 80 percent of Filipino students showed poor learning results or below minimum levels of proficiency expected of them. (ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN)

“While this alarm expressed by Malacanang is necessary, it is more alarming for us students that we are only now getting that reaction from the state,” National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) National President Jandeil Roperos said.

Roperos noted that this has been a “systemic problem with multidimensional and multisectoral aspects, and as the World Bank report has said, it has been exacerbated by the pandemic.”

In his press briefing on July 1, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said that the World Bank report showing that 80 percent of Filipino students do not know what they are expected to learn based on their academic level is “very disturbing and very alarming.”

"If they are only now reacting to this problem that the students have echoed ever since the start of the pandemic, then it is clear that they are not listening and heeding to the concerns of the major stakeholders in education,” Roperos said.

Without face-to-face classes, some teachers hold online classes. (ALVIN KASIBAN / MANILA BULLETIN)
For students without access to online classes, printed modules are distributed to them by their teachers. (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Roperos noted that at the onset of the pandemic, there should be this “alarm” from the state already. “In crafting the policies to continue education amid the outbreak, there should have been comprehensive plans and funds allocated to the safe and gradual resumption of physical classes as the relatively most accessible mode of education,” she added.

Given this, NUSP is urging Malacañang to express this alarm in concrete plans and inclusive steps in continuing education amid the pandemic. “If they truly are alarmed, then where is the response to this call that has long been sounded by the students?” Roperos said.

The groups also urged the government to address the challenges and concerns raised by teachers, parents and the students especially under the distance learning set up.

Among the challenges under distance learning is the lack of gadgets and internet connection. (MANNY LLANES / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Having felt the dire consequences of school closures and prolonged blended and flexible learning, it has been more than a year and a lot of students have no gadgets and internet connections, and module production and distribution remains problematic and delayed,” Roperos said. “This compromises the quality of education,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education (DepEd) welcomed the study released by the World Bank and assured that the agency has been implementing education reform initiatives to help uplift the quality of education in the country.

While it recognized the concerns raised in the World Bank education report, DepEd said that some of the current initiatives being undertaken by the agency were not acknowledged in the said study.