Public schools coping with pandemic through community collaboration, administrators say
Collaboration within and outside of public schools is helping them cope with the emerging problems in education brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, administrators from various public schools and universities say.
Philstar.com/ Gladys Cruz
Public schools coping with pandemic through community collaboration, administrators say
Xave Gregorio (Philstar.com) - October 1, 2020 - 4:38pm

MANILA, Philippines — Collaboration within and outside of public schools is helping them cope with the emerging problems in education brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, administrators from various public schools and universities said in a recent webinar.

“To solve all this, community effort is a key. Community effort helped a lot to manage emerging difficulties,” Lilia Habacon, executive director of the Philippine Science High School System, said at the "#ISAngKilosBayan Advocacy Series: Supporting Public School Transition to Blended Learning" webinar.

Among the key problems in the transition to online learning is the digital divide among students and teachers, with some of them lacking access to gadgets and a stable internet connection.

This hurdle was solved, administrators said, through the help of their respective communities.

Fund-raising, borrowed equipment

Habacon said they campaigned for more laptops through the Philippine Science High School System Foundation and allowed students to borrow tablets, laptops and PCs.

As a result, she said, all of their students got onboard for online classes even if 1.24% of students do not have mobile phones, 10.75% do not have laptops and 7.4% do not have access to the internet.

Dr. Alicia Aprecio, principal of Rosario Integrated School in La Union, relayed that some of their students also lack tablets, laptops and desktops — a problem which she said was solved through the local government and through non-government organizations.

Aprecio added that the local government and alumni are helping them secure supplies and additional risograph machines for the production of printed modules which would be handed out to students.

Campus collaboration

It was collaboration between departments inside the University of the Philippines system and the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila that enabled them to surpass some major hurdles in transitioning to virtual learning, their administrators said.

“I believe that we, in the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs, cannot do this alone without the help of our colleagues here in the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila. I think this is one way of promoting the spirit of bayanihan in the university,” said Dr. Flordeliza Ferrer, vice president for academic affairs of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.

Dr. Evangeline Amor, UP assistant vice president for academic affairs, shared that they solved the problem of faculty members acquiring permissions for copyrighted materials for course packs for their students through the coordination between the academic unit and the university library.

“We in the education sector, from students, parents, teachers, staff, administrators and the community, need to work as a team. We need a stronger and proactive alliance to serve our stakeholders,” Habacon said.

As of July, over 22 million students in basic education have already enrolled in public and private schools, which represents just 80% of the total of last year’s enrollment figures.

COVID-19 EDUCATION INSTITUTE FOR SOLIDARITY IN ASIA NOVEL CORONAVIRUS PUBLIC SCHOOLS
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