June 21, 2024

The Commission on Human Rights welcomed the latest pronouncement of the Department of Education to fully open face-to-face classes by June.

In a statement, CHR Executive Director Jacqueline Ann de Guia, said the “right to education is intrinsic to the exercise of other human rights”, hence the agency’s “staunch support” to DepEd.

“In the third year of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Philippines remains one of 23 countries that have yet to fully reopen schools. Education, supposedly the greatest equalizer, has posed to further divide and alienate the most marginalized children in our society, placing them at greater risk of exploitation and a lifetime of poverty,” de Guia said.

DepEd Sec. Leonor Briones said the 100 percent reopening of actual classes will depend on the advice of the Department of Health, preparations of local government units, and consent and participation of parents.

Citing a report from DepEd, de Guia said 73 percent of public schools have returned to face-to-face classes.

Private institutions, however, remain wary as only 676 of 16,000 schools have reverted to in-person learning.

“The Commission hopes for the steady and progressive expansion of face-to-face learning while maintaining strict adherence to Covid-19 health and safety protocols,” de Guia said.

De Guia also re-cognized the DepEd’s “exploration of the effectiveness of blended learning setup” to address the parents’ hesitancy of having their children participate in in-person classes

She added that ensuring every Filipino child’s right to education grants them an opportunity to better their lives.

It also bridges economic and social gaps, such as productivity, gender inequality, and health care accessibility, that hamper our nation-building, she added.

De Guia called on incoming government officials “to make accessible and quality education a priority investment”.

“May the glaring inequalities among literacy and proficiency among our youth that the pandemic has underlined be urgently acted on, with the education sector at the very helm,” she added.– PNA