Tell it to SunStar: Ironing the very fabric of education

·3 min read

By Cristopher A. Abrajan

Vice-president

ACT Region 7 Union

THE Covid-19 pandemic shifted the landscape of Philippine public education, turning school management and operation into complexities and layered catastrophe of choices among adequate school finance, institutional policies, and quality of schooling outcomes. Without a clear path and patterns to follow, school administrators are now leading without preparation, or without school pandemic plans, with no scaffold, and with no standard and blueprint to guide them to manage the current educational storm effectively.

Leading the school in turbulent times means our school administrators can navigate unusual routes to build pathways out of disruptions. School heads in this challenging voyage are defined by their dedication, aspiration, and unshakeable faith that whatever happens, whatever the price, whatever the challenges are, these administrators and teachers will carry on to do everything in their authority to transport the knowledge to all young Filipinos hungry for learning.

As a result, we are caught in the unfavorable position of financial constraints caused by limited operational funding to spend for the unprecedented production and acquisition of printed modular materials for public school learners. For underprivileged public schools contentiously fought for diminishing fiscal resources. In addition, the long-delayed distribution of learning materials together with additional workload among teachers, parents, and students over lost time creates a huge psychological impact on deteriorating DepEd's planning standards and capability to address the prevalent issue.

School heads and teacher's typical workday during the pandemic exists as twilight education. Answering online queries, together with back-to-back virtual training, zoom meetings, and text messaging, are mandatory to bridge the gap of the contoured channel of communication. They are assuring that stakeholders will have accurate information. Teachers and administrators alike are working outside work hours every day, tied to gadgets like cellphone, iPods, and computers, to cope with the challenging demand to educate during uncertainty.

Students' performance, assessment, and participation dropped enormously due to relocation, economic disadvantage, and their ability to comprehend the given instruction. Sometimes, the distributed learning modules are answered by learners' parents or older family members without the glance of the learners. What is more frustrating are cases where family members pay someone to answer the learning modules, depriving students of the rare opportunity to learn. The low-income learners lack accessibility to gadgets and options for high-quality instructions leaving them behind in acquired skills and knowledge. This effect will most likely lead to educational stress and trauma that eventually resulted in academic burnout.

The most critical work of the school is to address learning recovery by addressing the long-standing inequalities suffered by vulnerable economically disadvantaged learners. In addition, the Department of Education ensures that learning continues despite the state of global emergencies. This continued disruption in schools has provided teachers with agility, resiliency, and innovation to develop their technological competency by learning the unlearned.

Our public school teachers work to find learning solutions within the limits of their capabilities and expertise. These modern heroes lead co-workers, colleagues, and students struggling with challenges and rapid changes in global education. They guide every team member in navigating to empower communities for the greater good of everyone within this organization. Our public schools are meaningfully continuing to demonstrate Filipino values by showering human sympathy and kindness at the forefront of public service, giving consideration to humans before outcomes, students before results, and well-being before learning. This dilemma teaches us how to help one another during this pandemic that embodies collaborative professionalism and shared social responsibility. There can be no pupils' well-being if we can't support teachers' well-being.

Our current situation demonstrates the idea that we are one society, one humanity, that, regardless of our position and status in life, we can reach out to support, sustain, and comfort one another.

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