It takes a village to raise a child, the cliche goes. But there really is nothing so cliche about it, as the task of raising and educating children indeed falls on the shoulders of not just parents and educators, but also of the entire nation. This has never been more evident than in this ongoing pandemic, where schooling was forced to take on multiple forms, stepping out of the classroom setup quite literally.
In the Philippines, this change was in the form of modular learning, a kind of educational setup that favors the use of alternative methods of instruction, including but not limited to online classes, radio, TV, as well as printed materials prepared and delivered to households by teachers, or picked up by parents who live near their children’s schools.
In most cases, this setup works, albeit not without drawbacks. In a country plagued by spotty and less-than-reliable internet connection, online classes have taken a toll on both parents (and their kids) and teachers. Far-flung barangays, where internet connection was even more problematic, printed modules were the best alternative, although these would often arrive late because of logistical issues made even more of a nightmare by COVID restrictions.
With the upcoming school year opening in September 2021, not much has changed in the country’s situation. Sure, vaccinations are going at a steady pace, which have opened up discussions for a potential resumption of face-to-face classes—a debate that has largely been shelved due to concerns over the Delta variant. With actual, physical classes out of the question for now, it seems more likely for schools to still follow modular learning methods of instruction for the upcoming school year.
What this means for parents and learners, as well as for teachers and academic institutions, is another year of trying to keep things together. With many families having invested in gadgets and internet connection, parents and students will come to the new school year a little bit more prepared than the previous year. Schools and teachers are also going into the fray equipped with learning experiences from what has undoubtedly been the strangest academic year they have ever faced. The Department of Education (DepEd) has also promised to pick up pointers from SY 2020-21, such as relying less on printed material). With many DepEd personnel also having been vaccinated, it seems fair to say that we are looking forward to a more organized school opening this September.
It takes, after all, a village to raise a child. And it definitely takes an entire nation, with good Internet connection, to educate children well during a pandemic.