December 10, 2022

We find ourselves two years into one of the most catastrophic global health crises of our lifetime and, disturbingly, not much has changed in the country’s educational routine. For what it’s worth, it became a double burdensome routine to teachers, parents, and the students, especially with a hint of resuming in-person classes.
The closure of schools in 2020 forced students to enroll in distance learning modalities. On average, other countries were closed for 79 teaching days. Our country, however, has been closed for more than a year. The repercussions meant loss in learning, mental distress, increased number of dropouts, child labor, and also child marriages. These myriad of problems amplified by the pandemic is enough to demand the change of pace in our deteriorating educational system.
News about the possible face-to-face classes in the basic education level worried parents of the risk their children would be exposed to, arguing that it is better to stay at home and be healthy than go to school to learn and come back sick. While parents made their point, there is a need to weigh and analyze our decisions. The schools that are approved to reopen have passed the safety and readiness assessment by the Department of Health and the Inter-Agency Task Force.
Filipino students especially those who are in the elementary level are lagging in having a quality education. The blended learning has not always been successful with parents answering their child’s module, the Internet usage as the key answers, and the unwillingness of the child to learn among others reasons. In 2021, the Unicef called on governments to reopen schools the soonest time. This is to ensure and provide a comprehensive recovery response for the students.
Like the students, teachers are also lagging in technology resources. The Department of Education has handed out assistance like cash and technology but the bureaucracy has been slow-paced and proved a tangled, unorganized system. We can’t blame the higher-ups but we can impose and scrutinize the deficiency. We are slowly returning to in-person classes yet the technology resource is hidden somewhere else. We always stress the need for quality education but we forget that we also need quality teaching met with quality resources.
Further, the parents become the first to tend to their children’s holistic development. Teachers are also parents and they have not missed the opportunity to teach their children too. The reopening of in-person classes does not end the struggle of students, teachers, and parents but eases it as we adapt to a novel norm that puts health and safety first. (MARY JANE C. BASINGA)