Teachers’ groups maintained that the Department of Education (DepEd) is “not ready” for the Sept. 13 school opening as concerns under the distance or blended learning set-up, which was first implemented last school year, remain “unaddressed.”
The Teachers' Dignity Coalition (TDC) and the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), in separate statements, challenged the DepEd and the Duterte administration to address their concerns as they feared that the new school year might be just a “repeat” of the previous one.
Citing reports from the ground, TDC National Vice Chairperson Olivia De Guzman said that days before classes start, “we receive, many teachers are still waiting for the provided modules while others are doing their last-ditch effort of printing and reproduction using their own resources.”
De Guzman added that in other schools, even the grouping of students in their respective sections are not yet done. “Until now, after a year, many students and their families still cannot keep up with the online requirement of distance learning, especially those that have lost their livelihood due to the pandemic,” she explained.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation in the country, DepEd will once again implement a blended/distance learning set-up this school year.
Without face-to-face classes, students will learn their lessons using multiple learning delivery modalities such as modular (printed and offline); online learning; television and radio-based instruction; and/or a combination of two or more modalities under “blended learning.”
TDC said that there were many lessons from the past school year that “cannot be ignored and should be considered” in reopening of classes. Thus, TDC, it is “clear” that the system is not ready for the opening of classes with all the challenges experienced by teachers, parents and learners last school year.
This, the group said, is another concern for teachers because whatever the DepEd's shortcomings are, they are the the ones expected to fill these in.
“Given these facts, we believe that the system is not prepared for the opening of classes on September 13 and while it may be too late, we hope the DepEd could consider moving it further and talk to the stakeholders especially their front liners- the teachers and reflect on the honest assessment of the previous school year,” De Guzman said .
ACT also shared the same concerns --- noting that its own school opening preparedness survey showed that distance learning problems “remain unresolved” for the new school year.
“The same problems that plagued the previous school year under distance learning haunt the upcoming one,” ACT said citing the result of its nationwide online survey among public school teachers which was aimed to assess the readiness of public schools for the Sept. 13 class opening.
“Education access and quality is expected to continually suffer, while learning loss is unlikely to be circumvented seeing as how the education sector is set be greeted by similar problems observed in the first school year of distance learning—such as late printing of and insufficient modules, lack of gadgets and internet support, excessive workload and study load, and wanting school safety measures, as were observed in the last school year,” ACT said.
Given these challenges, ACT said that teachers are once again expected to “bear the brunt of the government’s abandonment of education as their overworked and under-supported situation is expected to intensify in the coming school year.”