Nearly 5-M unenrolled students is no cause for celebration- solons

With almost five million students dropping out from schools, the Department of Education has nothing to celebrate about in yesterday’s opening of the 2021-22 school year.

School opening image

Makabayan lawmakers slammed Education Secretary Leonor Briones’ claim of success and victory as a result of yesterday’s class opening.

House Asst. Minority leader and Gabriela Partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas said there remains many schools that are shut down while “mothers and teachers still carry the burden of distance learning.” On the other hand, ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro said there is “no victory as long as schools are closed and our children cannot safely go back” to classrooms.

“How can DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones say that the Philippine education system has improved when schools are closed and both our teachers and students are suffering?,” asked Castro.

Briones was ecstatic at the opening of classes on Monday, noting that this happened twice notwithstanding the continued onslaught of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

However, Brosas said nearly five million students do not share the same joy because they cannot go to school "Nearly five million students dropped out from enrolment as schools remain closed while mothers continue to bear the brunt of distance learning. What is there to celebrate about?" said Brosas.

She added: ”That is an insult to mothers and teachers who are helplessly filling in the wide gaps of the government in implementing distance learning. I hope Sec. Briones really knows what victory she is referring to." According to her the Philippines and Venezuela are the only countries in the world with schools still closed by the end of September.

"The Duterte administration failed to give a substantial salary increase for our teachers. The increase was not enough to cope with the rising cost of basic goods especially now with the additional costs of blended distance learning," Castro said.

"The Duterte administration cannot claim victory as long as it denies our teachers their demands for P1,500 monthly internet allowances, overtime pay, gadgets for the distance learning of both students and teachers, adequate and timely release of modules and as long as there are no concrete plans for the safe return of students to face-to-face classes the Duterte administration cannot claim victory,” she stated.