Chiz Escudero to gov’t: Address gaps in distance learning due to lack of internet access

Published November 28, 2021, 12:16 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Former senator and incumbent Sorsogon Governor Francis “Chiz” Escudero on Sunday urged the government to address the lack of internet access or connectivity in the country which is significantly hindering students’ learning ability during this time of a COVID-19 pandemic.

With no end in sight yet to the pandemic, Escudero said he is alarmed that the lack of access to the Internet has adversely affected the education of Filipino schoolchildren, noting how the World Bank reported that nine out of 10 pupils in the country cannot read based on its recent study.

Citing the World Bank report, Escudero said the Philippines’ learning poverty is now at a high of 90 percent by August 2021, from 69.5 percent before the pandemic. The same study showed that distance learning in the Philippines only covered 20 percent of households with schoolchildren, similar to Ethiopia, the lowest rate.

“Ito na nga ang masakit at hubad na katotohanan ng remote learning na ipinilit ipatupad sa buong bansa kahit sa mga lugar na wala naman o mababa ang kaso ng (This is the painful and naked truth about remote learning that the government had insisted on implementing nationwide even in places that have no or minimal cases of) COVID-19,” Escudero said in a statement.

“Nakaka-alarma na nga ang estado ng edukasyon bago mag-pandemya, tapos nabiktima naman ang ating mga mag-aaral ng magulong pagpapatupad ng distance learning (The state of education was already alarming before the pandemic, then our students have fallen victim to a chaotic implementation of distance learning system),” said Escudero who is running for a Senate seat in the upcoming May 2022 elections.

Escudero said the government should pursue massive investments for faster network and internet coverage to make it easier for students even under a hybrid learning setup, which he expects to continue for some time even with the start of limited in-person classes recently implemented by the Department of Education (DepEd).

“Even as we enter the new normal, expect that distance learning modalities will be here for some time,” Escudero said.

“Kaya kailangang mag-invest talaga sa internet connectivity para sa blended future distance learning ng ating mga estudyante. Huwag naman nating iwanan ang mga kabataan (That’s why it’s crucial to invest in internet connectivity for blended future distance learning of our students. Let’s not abandon the young generation),” he said.