Balik face-to-face eskwela: The reopening of the closed opportunity in the Philippines
By Amalia M. Laurel
The occurrence of Covid-19 pandemic had created a global impact in all aspects especially in the lives of the Filipinos including the education of the children. Being confined for years in a new learning environment or distance learning modality, students are excited for the reopening of classes as this new educational system is a struggle for some, especially those who can’t afford to buy loads for online classes and others are really not reached by signals. Hence, according to the news article of Ma. Teresa Montemayor of Philippine News Agency, based on the DepEd’s timeline, the expansion phase of limited face-to-face is set to start in January 2022. Reopening of classes in all grade levels is agreeable because the Philippines can’t produce well-rounded, holistic, and globally competitive students if teaching strategies are weak.
Further, pandemic has caused the opportunities of the pupils and students to master their capabilities and strengths as well as know themselves better. That is why, there is an urge for the reopening of classes for the reason that if this continues, then we could probably be stuck at the bottom of a pile which is considered as the weakest propagator of education around the world. As of March 9, 2022 around 63.99 million people were already fully vaccinated in the Philippines as per statista.com. Therefore, it is just but proper for the Philippines to reopen and have face-to-face classes since most of the students are vaccinated.
On the contrary, is there an assurance that schools in the Philippines can accommodate students one hundred percent? Facilities are required for this matter. Our country is one with high population numbers, thus millions of funds are needed for the schools to successfully cater face-to-face classes. The question is, “Is the government ready to support the DepEd?” If Education will be prioritized, the answer lies in the hands of the authorities. Being fully vaccinated is a shallow reason as we have to be equipped for this to be upheld. That is one of the reasons why DepEd issued an order for 5-day face-to-face classes to maximize teaching and learning.
To conclude, reopening and 5-day classes implementation is now mostly needed because if the distance learning modality will continue, then the curriculum that we have right now will not be efficient, as non-readers and struggling readers have increased. Blended learning is not much effective in the basic education level to meet the goal of education which is to transform people into extraordinary individuals who can lift the Philippines from adversity and poverty. Besides shortage of classrooms and chairs, school personnel are doing their best efforts just to accommodate the learners for the 5-day face-to-face classes. All schools have conducted a simulation process and the joy is radiant in the faces of those lucky students. Remember that we Filipinos are talented but without a proper and comprehensive system of education, these talents will never be valued nor foster. Let’s embrace positive change by molding the Filipino students to be catalysts of change. Thus, reopening of classes at all levels is a must!