ACT slams gov’t ‘knee-jerk response’ in recalling pilot face-to-face classes
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s “knee-jerk response” to recall his order allowing the dry run of face-to-face classes shows how the government remains “in-the-dark” in handling the pandemic, a teachers’ group said Sunday.
During a meeting with Cabinet officials and infectious diseases experts on Saturday, Duterte canceled the pilot implementation of face-to-face classes set for January due to the new COVID strain first detected in the United Kingdom.
“Last night’s Cabinet meeting exposed how ‘in-the-dark’ and ‘in-limbo’ the Duterte administration still is in terms of handling the pandemic, hence its knee-jerk responses of holding back the conduct of face-to-face classes as opposed to employing a scientifically guided risk assessment of where and when physical classes can be held in light of the discovery of new strains,” Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines Secretary-General Raymond Basilio said in a statement.
Basilio stressed that the new COVID strain should not further widen the gap in delivering education to students.
“Instead, it should push the government to heed calls to guarantee health and safety in schools, maintain non-transmission in remote areas, provide ample tech infrastructure for remote learning, among others,” Basilio noted.
“Our demands stand, in the face of the old and new strains of COVID-19: fulfill the requisites for safe, accessible, and quality education to enable learning continuity without sacrificing the people’s welfare and rights,” he went on.
Due to the pandemic, the delivery of education shifted to distance learning where learning modules, television, radio, and the internet are utilized as media of instruction.
Many challenges, however, arose from this transition like lack of access to technology, slow internet, errors in learning modules, among others.
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