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The challenges of transition to in-person learning

By Cristina Montes-Buquid

Two years since the Corona Virus or Covid-19 hit the Philippines, the country have prepared already for the reopening of most of the business and other sectors greatly affected by the Pandemic. The government of the Philippines had already marshaled the plan for the gradual recovery of the country with the formulation of policies that will pave the way to regain the lost opportunity brought about by the health crisis.

The determination to attain the full immunity to the public was substantially accomplished after a massive campaign by the government to encourage the populace to submit to the vaccinations. With these, the sector of education is already in high spirit to return the stranded students to school.

When the school reopened for the 5 day in-person classroom session, everyone was optimistic that the learning gap will be finally filled and the energy to the old and usual classroom setting will be finally revive. However, this is not absolute since compliance with the usual pre-pandemic regulations and policies is still required to be observed because the threat of infection with Corona Virus or Covid-19 is still there and remains the overriding concern of everyone.

The guidelines which allows the school to reopen had already dispense with the purely distance learning or blended learning only the face-to-face interaction is allowed. This was embraced with zealousness by the stakeholders who were already eager to return to class after that traumatic situation brought by the pandemic.

However the transitions to in-person was not easy as the lost and suspended momentum had to be regain and to beef up the interest of the students in school. As we move forward to visualize the future of education, it is essential that education institutions do not simply return to the pre-pandemic in-person classroom but rather take this opportunity to evaluate and eventually improve the delivery of classroom instruction in-person which is a classroom that meets student's demands for accessibility and flexibility. It must be emphasized that nowadays, most of the children are no longer comfortable with reading the books but the mediums used in readings and research are the computers or gadgets in their home.

This behavior of the students were mostly developed and enhanced during the pandemic where they have no other recreation at home but the gadgets. All learning is already made easy and comfortable just by the push of the button. They can actually learn anytime and anywhere. Also, communication was made easy. Teachers likewise can customize learning as it allows them to improve their instruction approaches and personalize learning, therefore increasing their productivity and efficiency as instructors. Through these essential and helpful devices, teachers can provide exciting activities which will raise the interest of the students.

With these, schools had to adapt already by considering their instructions to be at par or aligned to the approaches of the students towards their study and as to how they perceived their study at home and school.

While some private school had already made some adjustment such as providing each students with gadgets where all the references are stored and instructions to evaluate the learning of students, the public school are still struggling to keep abreast with the demand for classroom technology due to budgetary reverses. Our public education still belongs to the third world in terms of technology in the mediums of instructions but, we cannot discount the fact that despite the constraints, we are still producing quality graduates. But, if we want more if not all graduates to be more efficient in their venture as they grow old and integrate to the arena of competition in the sectors of business, government service and other careers, we need to prepare them.

Therefore, the demand to harness technology as part of the educations new normal must be kept active. Policies to develop public schools of the future must be the utmost consideration so that the product of our education will become globally competitive.

The earlier the students are exposed to education technology, the better they will become interested as learning were made easy. Technology is so advanced, such that it now motivates business growth. Hence, employers who are using technology in their business had to make the most of it in order to improve their performance, so they had to employ people who are not just literate in technology but are also experts who can contribute to their businesses. Thus, the schools who are advancing education technology is a good training environment for future professionals. It can help these kids by including technology into their system through their materials, facilities, rooms, and even modules. After all, children of today are becoming digital already. Using technology for their daily studies can help them more than it can destroy them.

So it is high time that the government should already be rallying towards education technology as a post pandemic innovation. We should already align some of our time, budget and legislation towards developing a policy that will answer the demand for technology in education if we are to be competitive to the world. Bear in mind that the mandate of the constitution is for the government to give priority to education as a right not a privilege. And, in order to realize and attain such mandate, one of the best things to do is to provide highest budgetary allocation to education in the government’s annual general appropriation law. Perhaps, it would not be amiss to allocate funds for the digitalization of our public school system. After all, this is still in accord with our vision to provide or to produce able graduates and citizens. It does not only refer to academic teaching but also to logistics and parameters in order to achieve our long time mission of quality education.

These challenges are not that hard to hurdle because we all know already that this had become a necessity rather than a mere luxury. In this era of global education technology and digitalization, we have to adjust already to the growing demand for it.

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