EDITORIAL - Year 2 of blended learning

The Philippine Star
EDITORIAL - Year 2 of blended learning

With 18,056 new COVID cases reported yesterday, and infections again rising in Metro Manila, any pilot test of the resumption of face-to-face classes anywhere in the country will have to be carefully reviewed. The COVID surge is being driven by the highly infectious Delta variant, which is now present in all regions.

The Department of Health also clarified that the number of new infections yesterday was relatively low due to lower laboratory testing last Sunday. Another 222 deaths related to COVID were reported, bringing the total to 35,529. As we are seeing even in other countries, Delta is also infecting an increasing number of minors.

Education, however, must go on, to keep young minds stimulated amid the pandemic and keep teachers employed. Balancing this with the need to keep students and educators safe from COVID prompted the government to shift to blended learning for school year 2020-2021. This week, another academic year began in the public school system with blended learning still in place.

The past year has shown the limits of distance learning in a country where many families cannot afford the technology requirements for this learning mode. Among the poor, cramped dwellings do not provide the proper environment for education. Blended learning also requires greater involvement of parents in their children’s education – a role that many parents lack the time or capability to perform. Teachers, meanwhile, have complained about limited support for their gadget needs and the production of learning modules.

Distance learning has also taken a toll on the mental health of school children, according to child welfare organizations. Still, with minors not covered by the vaccination drive due to limited supply, the Department of Education has been left with little choice but to forge ahead with a second year of blended learning. With more knowledge of the accompanying problems, DepEd should be in a better position to provide solutions.

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