March 28, 2023

An open letter to Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong

In light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, parents, teaching and non-teaching school personnel, and citizens have raised their concerns on the announced plans for our country’s education. Proceeding with the new normal education has left many of us with questions as to how this system will function. Students from families of low-income standing are especially affected by the implementation of the drastic transitions in education.
We humbly request for the conduct of a dialogue on Aug. 6, or way before the announced class opening on Aug. 24, to be led by your good office and the concerned council committee to discuss the concerns being raised.
We also would like to suggest the presence of the Department of Education-Baguio and the Commission on Higher Education-Cordillera; teacher organizations, student organizations, parent organizations, and other concerned sectors in this dialogue.
Academic learning in the new normal has been announced earlier by DepEd and CHED to continue in August even as Covid-19 cases continue to grow.
With the six million learners who did not enroll in basic and secondary education nationwide, it is alarming how the students are met with circumstances causing them to, rather, opt out of school. Both online and blended learning raise concerns among various sectors – students, teachers, parents – with issues of inaccessibility.
Apart from this, several students cite increasing anxiety and depression the social isolation brings, as well as the added burden of worrying for distance learning and the expenses they entail.
Several cases of dormitory issues have been noted here in Baguio City. Some students who have left their school and returned to their provinces face the issue of leaving their dormitories and items behind. Some are being forced to pay without being physically present, while some are being kicked out and made to fetch their things despite the unavailability of public transportation.
We earnestly hope for your favorable response. For further inquiries on our request, we can be reached at (074) 244-7350/0917-158-6448. — JEANETTE CAWIDING & ABEL CHRISTOPHER MUNOZ, Rise for Education Baguio-Benguet convenors

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