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Panel to inquire on face-to-face class preparedness
The inquiry was on the instance of Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, who filed a resolution that seeks to hold hearings to assess whether or not basic education institutions can deliver quality education next school year, whether through face-to-face classes, distance learning, or other alternative delivery modes.
Freeman/File

Panel to inquire on face-to-face class preparedness

(The Philippine Star) - June 14, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate committee on education is set to conduct an inquiry into the preparedness of the Department of Education (DepEd), students, schools and other stakeholders to hold face-to-face classes in school year 2021-2022 as the Duterte administration slowly rolls out its COVID-19 vaccination program.

The inquiry was on the instance of Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, who filed a resolution that seeks to hold hearings to assess whether or not basic education institutions can deliver quality education next school year, whether through face-to-face classes, distance learning, or other alternative delivery modes.

Gatchalian, who chairs the committee, stressed the need for an immediate assessment of the effectiveness and challenges that hounded distance learning for the coming school year that include lack of gadgets, electricity, internet connection, appropriate learning space and issues on the quality of modules.

The DepEd last April proposed Aug. 23 as the opening of the new school year but President Duterte would have the final say based on a law enacted last year that authorizes him to shift the academic calendar during a state of emergency or calamity.

The senator said the lack of physical interaction, too much screen time, and pressures leading to depression were likewise identified as challenges. Some learners also engaged in “answers-for-sale” scheme and “online sex sale” just to help them finance distance learning.

“After a year of distance learning where we faced so many challenges, it’s important and timely that we use lessons learned to ensure that the next school year would be more effective in delivering education to our youth,” Gatchalian said in Filipino.

According to a Pulse Asia survey commissioned by Gatchalian, only 46 percent of Filipinos with a child in basic education say that their child is learning, 30 percent cannot say whether their child is learning or not, and 25 percent say that their child is not learning.

The same poll revealed that the top concerns raised by parents, guardians and learners nationwide are difficulty in answering modules (53 percent), intermittent internet connection (43 percent), difficulty in focusing or laziness to listen (42 percent) and lack of gadgets for online learning (36 percent).

The senator also seeks to assess the readiness of schools when face-to-face classes resume, noting that the yearlong school closure has had a devastating effect on children.

In a Senate hearing held earlier this year, the Philippine Pediatric Society also flagged school closures as exposing learners to increased risk of violence, abuse and early pregnancy.

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