Metro Manila teachers lament ‘weak’ internet service in schools --- survey

The internet signal in most Metro Manila schools is “not strong” enough for teachers to hold online classes, a survey conducted by a group released on Monday, April 18, showed.

Unstable internet connection in schools becomes a major challenge for teachers who are required for onsite reporting. (Photo courtesy of ACT Philippines)

Based on the survey conducted by the Alliance of Concerned - National Capital Region (ACT-NCR) Union, 87.6 percent or 8,106 of the 9,254 teacher-respondents from the region answered “no” when asked if their school internet can service all teachers who will be conducting simultaneous online classes.

ACT raised the issue of weak internet connection in schools as the Department of Education (DepEd) implements the Memorandum 29 series of 2022 requiring the mandatory physical reporting of all teachers in areas under Alert Level 1 starting April 18.

“It’s no secret that our public schools are in dire conditions, especially after being on lockdown for more than two years,” said ACT NCR Union President Vladimer Quetua.

With DepEd mandating a 100 percent workforce reporting on-site, ACT said that among the foremost concerns of teachers in NCR is that their school internet is not strong enough to host their classes mostly held online.

While DepEd has been implementing the progressive expansion of face-to-face classes, distance learning remains the default learning delivery modality this school year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Quetua pointed out that many schools do not have enough supply of clean running water, thus, the case is the same for internet connection for teachers.

“Some of our teachers reported to have had to resort to asynchronous digital classes instead of holding online synchronous classes to consume lower internet bandwidths, which was all their school internet can handle,” Quetua said.

He explained that in other cases, teachers have received data allocations provided by their respective Local Government Units (LGUs) which they can use to hold online classes.

However, ACT received reports of “dead spots” within the school premises forcing multiple teachers who—all simultaneously holding their classes—to share small areas with enough cell reception.

“This is what we mean when we say that the blanket DepEd memo will have counterproductive impacts on the already challenging education delivery amid the pandemic,” Quetua said.

Aside from weak internet connection in schools, ACT said that the survey participants also pointed out health risks in light of the still ongoing pandemic and transportation concerns.