Students in Cebu province not ready for online classes

ABOUT 82.71 percent of students in the entire province of Cebu have no access to the internet.

This is what Leah Apao, assistant school division superintendent of Cebu Province, said during their meeting with the officials of the Department of Education (DepEd) on June 9, 2020.

An internet connection is needed to resume classes. This is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s direction that no face-to-face classes should be conducted nationwide until a vaccine against Covid-19 will be developed.

In order for the students to continue learning during this pandemic, the DepEd developed some ways to resume classes through distance learning modules that can be accessed on television, radio, online and homeschooling.

But Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia disapproves of the proposed alternatives because most students don’t have access to the internet, especially those who live in the provinces.

Out of 537,487 elementary school students in the province of Cebu, only 92,920 or 17.29 percent have an internet connection.

In her press conference at the Capitol on June 10, 2020, Garcia said: “I said we should find a better way because as I was asking, let’s say for example, you will just give the student instruction and the student will read it, but what about kindergarten students? How are you going to teach them ‘This is letter A; this is letter B?’ You cannot teach a child who does not know how to read by just a workbook. How can you teach a child that ‘This is the color blue; this is the color yellow or purple?’ There has to be some kind of face-to-face instruction.”

There are two methods the Province and the DepEd are now exploring to solve this dilemma. These are to distribute workbooks and conduct a “purok” (per area) teaching system.

If these are approved, about P2 billion will be spent by the Province for workbooks alone.

The DepEd is assessing the possibility and looking for ways to teach kindergarten and elementary school students in every area of the barangay.

Teachers living in a certain area will be tasked to teach in that area.

This is needed because according to the governor, not all parents can teach their children.

Because of this, Garcia will meet with DepEd officials again to discuss new ways to develop a teaching system for all students in the province of Cebu, wherein no student will be left behind in their lessons amid the pandemic.

Garcia also hopes the protocol implemented will be consistent and the national heads will consider the situation of their constituents.

She said: “But as I said, there are things beyond our control because there are national directives that prohibit students from leaving their homes. I’m just stating what’s on the ground, what is really happening here.

And we are hoping that policies would conform with and take into consideration the needs, the situation, the predicament of people on the ground.” (ANV/MMC)