Senate reso bats for face-to-face classes in areas with ‘few to zero’ Covid cases
MANILA, Philippines — Saying there is a need for the country’s education system to catch up with its neighboring Southeast Asian countries, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III has filed a resolution that seeks the resumption of face-to-face classes in areas having “few to zero” Covid-19 cases.
Sotto filed Senate Resolution No. 663, which reads: “There is no substitute to face-to-face classes, which is probably the best way to arrest the decline in (education) quality and to improve learner outcomes.”
“There are deep concerns that while countries whose students had performed well in the past international assessments are already back on track, the Philippines is still lagging behind using the blended learning method, which to many is not an effective means due to lack of access to internet and gadgets by majority of pupils and students,” he said in a statement on Saturday.
In the resolution, local school boards, namely the Provincial School Board, the City School Board, and the Municipal School Board will be authorized to “assess and recommend whether to reopen or lockdown schools and allow physical classes to resume in their respective jurisdictions.”
Schools still closed
According to Sotto, the Philippines remains one of the 14 countries out of 150 countries worldwide, and the only country in Southeast Asia that has its schools still closed.
He added that the country has the need to “play catch-up” with the rest of the world since it fared poorly in assessments conducted prior to the pandemic, such as the National Achievement Test, Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS), and Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM).
Sotto also cited government data, showing approximately 433 cities and municipalities throughout the country that do not have any Covid-19 cases.
“I am fully aware that the threat of Covid-19 remains high, there are also reports that the virus is mutating and more variants are being discovered,” he said.
“But we cannot sacrifice the future of our youth. Our fears should not make us paranoid to the point of making us blind to how grim the future would be if our children do not get quality education,” Sotto added.
President Rodrigo Duterte previously thumbed down a fresh bid to resume face-to-face classes with the government’s Covid-19 mass vaccination program still pending.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones earlier proposed to resume face-to-face classes, saying that most learners, who have been cooped up for too long during the year-round lockdown, have been missing physical schooling and learning in school.
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