Youth group disputes Briones’ claim of ‘successful’ school opening
MANILA, Philippines — The second opening of classes amid the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t a cause for celebration as it will merely repeat the hardships students, teachers and their families experienced last year, the Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (Spark) told Education Secretary Leonor Briones on Wednesday.
This is what the activist group Spark reminded the Department of Education (DepEd) after Sec. Briones claimed that the opening for the school year 2021 to 2022 was a celebration of “victories and successes.”
“No, the second year of opening of classes isn’t something to celebrate about, Briones. It is nowhere near victorious, nor is it successful as this is subjected to repeat the hardships that the students, their families, and teachers experienced last year,” said Spark’s spokesperson for junior and senior high school affairs, Justin Dizon.
The school year recently opened on Sept. 13 where students are once again learning their lessons at home under a blended or distance learning set-up.
Spark, however, claimed that even amid the resumption of classes, students and teachers continue to plead as the opening of the new academic year was “ill-prepared and still faces the same problems that they experienced from last year.”
“[The] second year into distance learning, yet we see no efforts made by DepEd to solve the burden that they’ve given unto educational stakeholders,” said Dizon.
“We are forced into another year of failed distance learning and a doomed face-to-face pilot run for kindergarten up to grade 3 students,” he added.
The group also pointed out that the distribution of modules to some schools is not yet even completed. Students also lack the same resources such as proper gadgets and decent internet connectivity that they have been worrying about since last year.
Furthermore, the group also criticized DepEd’s “ill-prepared” proposal to conduct a face-to-face classes pilot run for Kindergarten to Grade 3 students.
“Even if the age group of kindergarten to Grade 3 students are the most resilient to the COVID-19 virus, it is not an excuse for the government to use them as human guinea pigs or sacrificial lambs,” said Dizon.
“Resuming face-to-face classes prematurely can cause an upsurge in cases, thereby also overwhelming our health sector furthermore,” he added.
On Monday, Briones declared that the second year of school amid the COVID-19 pandemic was a success, going as far as claiming that the opening was a celebration of “victories and successes.”
“We opened classes last year. We successfully ended them. Now we are opening another school year. Isn’t that success worthy of celebration?” she said during a livestream of the DepEd’s National School Opening Day program.
“Ahh, the sweet smell of success!” she also said during her speech.
According to Dizon, however, the resumption of classes amid the pandemic isn’t something to celebrate “especially if you blatantly disregard the welfare of your stakeholders.”
“Resumption of classes can only be victorious and successful as you say if all students are given not only education that is safe, but education that is also free, accessible, and quality, to all,” Dizon said.
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