Address ‘old normal’ issues to enable safe reopening of schools, says DepEd – Manila Bulletin

To help ensure 100 per cent reopening of schools safely, the Department for Education (DepEd) has been urged to immediately address ‘old’ issues that haunt public schools even before the Covid-19 pandemic.

(ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN)

“How are we going to achieve a better normal education if old issues are not resolved?” Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines General Secretary Raymond Basilio said in a statement released Friday, June 3.

ACT called on the DepEd to address pre-pandemic issues in the education sector – particularly those seen during the initial implementation of limited classroom lessons in public schools based on the survey led by the Movement for Safety, Equity, Quality, and Relevant Education (SEQuRe).

SEQuRe Education, a network of education experts, teachers, parents and students, conducted a month-long survey in March of teacher-respondents from 63 of the country’s 13,692 basic education schools. who opened limited face-to-face classes from November 2021 to April 2022.

Quoting the result of the said survey, Basilio noted that up to 96% of respondents indicated that “students were happy to be back in school”.

The same survey also showed that at least 96 said students “learned better than when enrolled in purely distance learning modalities”.

Despite this, Basilio said DepEd and the incoming administration have a “long way to go” if they want to open all schools for 100% face-to-face learning.

At a press briefing earlier this week, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said all schools nationwide were encouraged to reopen face-to-face lessons.

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However, Basilio noted that based on the survey, government funding and support was “insufficient”, causing 59-83% of teachers surveyed to “spend out of pocket to prepare schools and classrooms”. class to a safe reopening, while some important security measures were not yet sufficiently installed.

SEQuRe Education highlighted that learners’ families were also struggling to meet their children’s remote learning needs amid the ongoing economic crisis, as observed by 64-89% of respondents.

The survey also found that efforts and strategies for implementing limited learning in the classroom were “highly decentralized and school dependent”.

To ensure schools reopen safely, ACT said the national government and DepEd Central Office must ensure funding for school reopenings is raised significantly; massive hiring of teaching and non-teaching staff; and conduct nationwide student assessments to inform the development of an evidence-based education recovery agenda.

Basilio stressed that the resumption of face-to-face classes can only be effective in addressing the learning crisis if “the relaunch of education is designed on the basis of a concrete study of the impacts of school closure. for two years on learning, offering to conduct nationwide student assessments.

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