THE public school classes that started yesterday, October 5, nationwide were the most different as they were difficult for many people: the teachers, the students, and their parents, not to mention our education officials.
This difficulty may be attributed to the physical restrictions imposed on every one by the government, with President Duterte emphatically saying that there will be no face-to-face learning in classrooms, not until a vaccine against COVID-19 has been developed and found to be effective.
Adjustment to the new modalities of education this year is expected to be slow and hard, especially for the children in the rural areas who, by reason of poverty, are behind their peers in the cities. According to the Department of Education, blended and distance learning will be experimented this school year 2020-2021, with printed modules as the fundamental tool of instruction, supplemented by radio, television and video lessons.
‘Students, teachers, and parents are all facing difficulties in adapting to online distance learning but such is the price of education…’
Inasmuch as the private schools opened their classes ahead of the public schools, relatively well-to-do parents and their children have acclimatized by now to the ways of online instruction, such as Google Classroom and other apps. Learners this year will find it doubly hard to study, because as they digest the meat of new lessons, say in Math, Science or Filipino, they also need to know how to use the digital tools of the trade, such as receiving the teacher’s instruction by e-mail and sending test results thru an unfamiliar app.
Additional expenses for various gadgets and equipment are also incurred this month.
Students and parents now realize that a cellphone and a laptop are not enough for this kind of learning mode. Households will also need a printer, a Wi-Fi facility, a camera or video tool, etc. This further makes learning a bit beyond the reach of ordinary households, especially now with decreasing incomes.
The Palace is happy that Filipinos still give much priority to educating their kids, never mind the cost. It has always been that way, whether the economy is good or bad. Filipinos generally believe that education is the road to economic success and growth, at least at the level of the individual and the family. President Duterte cited the “momentous” start of the school year yesterday, saying not even the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic can get in the way of the education of the Filipino youth.
As a consolation and to help parents adjust to the new lay of the land in education, the DepEd has released a handbook to guide them in carrying out their responsibilities as parents and learning facilitators. It serves as a detailed guide on the various learning delivery modalities available.
Students, teachers, and parents are all facing difficulties in adapting to online distance learning but such is the price of education: hard work now, and self-fulfillment later.