Back to School?

Is the President going to postpone it again? After he abruptly pardoned Pemberton, I get this feeling that he could have an unexpected sudden change of heart anytime.

Tradition has long held its start on June. DepEd proposed to have it start on August 23 because of the risks of the pandemic. Then before that day could come around the corner, the highest office of the government with its authority and power, set it on October 5 after a series of meetings with Sec. Briones, in which supposedly she insisted on the department’s preparedness, and the whole agency was left with nothing to do but to abide. The way we understood it, classes were reset because that long awaited decline of number of active cases has not come yet. So, for the sake of safety of school children, the academic year was moved to a later date. But has the wave started to wane at all? Heck, it’s even continuing to shoot up without the smallest sign of slowing down. The statistics are even showing promise of traversing through 300,000 territory. Nothing has changed. According to the UP Octa Research Team, daily cases are down from more than 2,000 to more than 1,000. Well, that’s a relief; I guess. But I don’t think it does much to relegate the risk. Oh, wait. Much has changed. The local situation of the pandemic has got even worse. There has not been any turn for the better. The local Covid-19 threat is like walking through land mines. You really can’t tell where the danger is. You would just hear some explosion here and there. Since a great number of the learners are helplessly in lack of gadgets, much less of Internet connection, Parents of this same population would be claiming and returning learning modules which would in whatever case involve going out of the house and engaging in physical social interactions, which would raise the risk of infection.

On the other hand, should the fulfilment of life be suspended because of strife? Should advancement avoided because of adversity? Should life not thrive because of threat? Should time be wantonly wasted and be given to the wind because of a wave that would not wane? Education is not merely children going to school. Education is the spirit of passion of a nation to pursue progress and development. Maybe some people have their minds restricted of the idea of school as children running around to play, pre-teens bragging like brats, and juveniles jesting on jokes and joyrides. But why do children go to school anyway? It’s primarily for the acquisition of knowledge and skills. What for? For them to be competent for employment, to support oneself, one’s family and to a higher stratum, to contribute in the progress of the people. Therefore, to hold back from the books is a retreat from the river to the brooks. It is a denial of the direction towards development. In the past months of the Covid-19 situation, more than a few private schools have proven that classes can continue. Sure, there have been problems here and there. But are not problems anywhere?

What is left for us is to set focus on which it deserves to be, on necessity and not self-centered security. Maybe, it should start with the acceptance that things would not be “normal” in the way it had been. Maybe it will; probably in less than ten years. But before that day comes, should we perform programs in the fantasy that we could all meet en masse maskless? What to the scholars need? Is it paper? Is it preparation? Is it computers? Is it connectivity? Is it passion? Is it protection? Then rally around the hut, take hold of some part of it, and together with your neighbors push this institution forward to a favourable future. Most students have the only option to receive the lessons on printed hard copies. Then put those hands together to make those printouts reach the level of competence. Ease the problems of the people who prepare the printed copies of modules to ensure an efficient flow of the instruction. Contact does cause concern; so cover those faces and stretch those distances; and ensure those envelopes from errors. If there is opportunity for technological interactivity, support the program with wholehearted generosity. If we would adapt the act of underscoring underperformance as noble heroism, we should ask ourselves on the actual and practical benefit of crying out complaints on the issue.

Education builds the nation. But how do we do it when some of its leaders are themselves seem to be in extended puberty, trying to grope for a sense of reality?

“For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.” Ecclesiastes 7:12