DEPARTMENT of Education Secretary Leonor Briones herself acknowledged in a televised Cabinet meeting with the President in September that one of the biggest challenges the agency was facing was the mental well-being of education stakeholders, most particularly that of the core triad of teachers, parents and students. And, yet, despite that, the secretary had insisted that classes must go on, dismissing all the tales that doesn’t quite fit into her dogged pursuit to brave education amid the health crisis.
On the part of teachers, it’s the arduousness in the whole task of migrating an entire methodology and technique into another platform, reducing a career’s expertise into weekly modules or online classes if possible. Easier adjustment, though, for the younger ones and the technically savvy among them, but supposedly excellent ones who have been comfy in the traditional modes only had little time to retool. Imagine the frustration of passionate teachers who have been deeply tolled by feelings of inadequacy.
Little wonder that the school year’s launch had been mired by reports of erroneous content in modules, domestic distress brought about by maladjustments in the new setup, student and teacher suicides suspectedly linked to difficulties under the new learning and teaching modes, among others.
Some students complained that they have been buried neck-deep by tasks—both school-related and domestic chores. Parents could not seem to reconcile with the idea that their children, despite being home, are actually in class hours. Some of the kids who have both parents working, are left alone to work on their lessons without much guidance. When the time allows, the energies have waned and the quality of mentoring could be far from good.
We do not know of any overarching support system in terms of addressing these concerns that the DepEd had put in place. It seemed like it had launched the boat amid stormy waters, so to speak, and left everyone sploshing thereabouts on their own.
In the haste, the agency finds itself now parrying issues of errors in the modules, making us believe that it had not really institutionalized any gatekeeping mechanism for its resource materials. Imagine the thousands of children imbibing these doses of maleducation.
It might be best for the secretary to reconsider her thinking that reports such as these are machinations of parties who are out to sabotage Philippine education. It is not you versus them, for crying out loud. This is about our children’s education.