TWO weeks more to go, classes in public schools will finally start. So much has been said and done by the Department of Education to prove its readiness and preparedness program for the incoming school year. However, despite the opening of classes in some private schools weeks ago, the call for the academic freeze refuses to die and fade away.
The petition by the Change.org to suspend classes has gained strength and reached more than 260,000 signatories online. The grounds of the petition were issues answered by the agency for the past months. In fact, DepEd from its Central Office to regional offices has been conducting daily to weekly press conferences in response to those issues.
The agency has been doing more than that. It sponsors webinars and teleconferences to capacitate all its personnel and stakeholders. These online activities focus on curriculum, health-safety, and socio-psychological preparation under the new normal. It has also downloaded funds for module production and technical assistance to its personnel.
Despite all this ample preparation, for the opposing group, it means nothing. It strongly believes that education during the pandemic is an exercise in futility, a waste of money, and resources because it won’t guarantee them quality education.
The real issue is not only about the preparation but the tremendous limitations the agency unable to contend with. The issue on the internet connectivity and the very unfamiliar modalities are just the tip of the icebergs. The production cost of modules which in the long run is very expensive and not environment-friendly as more trees will be cut down to produce papers.
Most of all the health safety of the frontline-teachers is a serious issue because of the alarming increase of Covid cases in the county. In the dynamic working environment, there is no guarantee that the health protocol and standard will spare the teachers, school personnel and learners from the unseen virus.
Currently, the country is facing an economic recession and unemployment problem. Spending 65 billion for its Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan during the uncertain times is not illegal but excessive and extravagant.
The academic freeze may not be the best solution on hand but it can help provide safety and security for everyone. It will save money for the department and help preserve the environment. And while the virus is on-air education is not going anywhere!