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Ang Probinsyano solon to DepEd: Postpone classes until 2021

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The Department of Education (DepEd) should postpone the resumption of classes this year instead of resorting to virtual classrooms so students who do not have e-learning gadgets and internet connection will not be disadvantaged, Ang Probinsyano party-list Rep. Ronnie Ong said.

He said that giving schools the option to hold virtual classes also unnecessarily gives parents additional financial and emotional burden just to ensure that their children will not miss out on this school year amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to DepEd’s Learning Continuity Plan published May 11, “no face-to-face classes will be allowed earlier than August 24, 2020; and from August 24, face-to-face learning shall only be allowed when the local risk severity grading permits, and subject to compliance with minimum health standards.

Adoption of various learning delivery options such as but not limited to face-to-face, blended learnings, distance learnings, and homeschooling and other modes of delivery shall be implemented depending on the local Covid Risk Severity Classification and compliance with minimum health standards.”

According to Ong, students in far-flung towns, many of whom do not have access to reliable e-learning gadgets like smartphones, tablets and laptops, and stable internet connection, will be affected by such a policy.

“Sobrang hirap na ng buhay ng ating mga magulang sa panahon na ito ng COVID pandemic. Halos wala nang makain ang marami sa ating mga magulang dahil walang hanapbuhay habang naka-quarantine,” he said.

Ong said DepEd should make an announcement this early so that parents would no longer be wasting precious resources to buy gadgets for their children.

No forecast is also available if any specific area will be under low risk severity this early, and so many parents have no choice but to secure e-learning technologies out of fear of their children missing out when they themselves are already suffering financially due to this pandemic.

Ong added that while one year is a lot of lost opportunities to learn and advance in the educational ladder, DepEd, along with many public and private schools are completely unprepared to conduct online classes which may aggravate the country’s declining quality of education.

Unlike first-world countries where internet is fast and cheap and parents can easily afford to buy gadgets for their children, the country is really not ready yet for a full shift to e-learning system.

“DepEd should just postpone the entire school year without any exception. Our policy should apply to all to avoid any confusion. We are unprepared for this crisis,” Ong said.

“Walang training ang marami sa ating mga teachers to hold online classes. My suggestion is the DepEd should use this time to properly re-tool their teachers and their system to adapt to the so-called new normal,” he stressed.

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