PRESIDENT Duterte exuded sadness and hopelessness during his latest televised meeting with several members of the Cabinet, most especially those involved in the direct fight against the 2019 coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19.
The Chief Executive said our only hope to win the battle is a vaccine or antibodies that various scientists in the world are currently rushing. But science, you see, cannot be rushed or we might find ourselves in bigger trouble. That is the reason many in government, the private sector, and even the masses find Health Secretary Francisco Duque III too slow to their liking, too cautious even.
When one sifts through Duterte’s gibberish in the early hours of April 14, he or she can sense that the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) declared in Luzon, already extended to April 30, could still stand some more extension.
And as the start of another school year in June nears, the Department of Education (DepEd) is faced with the huge problem of having to open the schools with the pandemic or its tail still very much in our midst.
We note and laud therefore the DepEd for its efforts to ensure that learning of all students will continue amidst the enhanced community quarantine. Towards this end, the Department announced that its online learning platform can now be used by learners in private schools, not just those in public schools.
DepEd Commons, as the platform is called, is now accessible to students in private schools. DepEd has made its online learning delivery platform more inclusive as it expanded its features to cater to private school students, it was announced by the department yesterday. Incidentally, DepEd Commons had been made available, too, to out-of-school learners under the Alternative Learning System (ALS) program.
“Though the country is facing an unprecedented situation, we in DepEd are focused to fulfill our primary mandate of instilling quality basic education to our Filipino learners,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said. “We are eager to push boundaries and explore new paths so that education can still continue at the confines of our homes,” she added.
Briones noted that even the 1987 Constitution provided for the complementarity of public and private education, and this is fleshed out in ensuring access by both public and private school students to the DepEd Commons.
It is reassuring, too, that the pandemic occurred at a time when modern technology can already serve the people in the fields of education, medicine, science, health care services, economics, finance and other important human endeavors.