Tolentino wants opening of classes moved from August to October
MANILA, Philippines — With almost two weeks before classes begin, Senator Francis Tolentino on Wednesday urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to move the scheduled opening of classes from August to October.
During the Senate basic education hearing on the readiness for distance learning, Tolentino pitched the idea of “regionalizing” the opening of classes.
“Let those areas with low health risk, those that are ready with learning modules, and areas not hampered by quarantine restrictions begin classes using whatever modality is best to ensure public health and safety,” Tolentino said, referring to areas identified as “low-risk” from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“Areas with higher health risks should be allowed to start the school year at a later date, as even the parents’ livelihood are also affected,” he added.
Classes are slated to start on August 24, under a distance learning set up as the country continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.
But according to the senator, DepEd’s readiness for the opening of classes remains in question due to issues about internet connectivity and access to other tools to be used for blended learning, which is a combination of online distance learning and in-person delivery of learning materials to the homes of the learners for the reopening of classes.
Tolentino said that the change in the class opening date is possible through Republic Act No. 11480, which allows the President to move or reschedule the start of classes in an event of a state of emergency or state of calamity.
He added that the DepEd only has seven days to craft the implementing rules and regulations of RA 11480.
“Our common and ultimate goal is the protection of our learners. There is no disagreement on that. However, different localities have varying health circumstances, and hence will need varying approaches in the delivery of education,” Tolentino said.
“However, different localities have varying health circumstances, and hence will need varying approaches in the delivery of education, he added. “It will be wise perhaps for DepEd to consider opening classes on a per regional health and connectivity situation basis.”
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