Sara: Classroom shortage, COVID-19 must not stop students’ school return
MANILA, Philippines — Classroom shortage and the COVID-19 pandemic should not be an excuse to keep students from going back to in-person classes, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte said on Monday, the first day of classes nationwide for school year 2022-2023.
Duterte issued the remark at the Dinalupihan Elementary School in Bataan where the National School Opening Day Program was held.
She said that while calls for the deferment of the opening of classes had reasons, the education of the future of the Filipino is at stake.
“We can no longer make COVID-19 as an excuse to keep our children from their schools. The Philippines has been reopening just like the rest of the world reopens,” Duterte said in her speech.
“We cannot make the lack of educational infrastructure or the inadequate number of classrooms in certain provinces another excuse to keep our children from schools,” she added.
Duterte also acknowledged that several schools in the Visayas and Mindanao also need urgent reconstruction and rebuilding due to the effects of Typhoon Odette, which struck late last year.
However, she said that teachers and parents there, particularly in Limasawa Island in Southern Leyte, which she recently visited, wanted to start classes for the sake of their children.
“Ngayong araw na magbubukas ng klase, dapat ba nating iurong muna ang pagbubukas ng klase sa Limasawa Island? Hindi. Mismong mga magulang at mga guro ang nagsabi na sasabay sila sa pagbubukas ng klase. Hindi sila magpapahuli sa ibang mga paaralan at sa edukasyon ng ating mga anak,” she said.
(Today is the opening of classes; should we defer those of Limawasa Island? No. Even the teachers and parents said they would like to keep up with the opening of classes. They will not be left behind by other schools.)
“There are no excuses. Hindi na natin kaya na muling maantala pa ang pag-aaral ng mga kabataang Pilipino. Kailangan na natin silang maibalik sa in-person learning dahil sa in-person learning, makakakuha ng makahulugan, sapat o wasto, at dekalidad na edukasyon na kailangan nila para sa kalinangan ng kanilang pag-iisip sa pagtatag ng malakas na bansa,” she added.
(We cannot afford to delay the education of the Filipino youth any longer because they will get a meaningful, adequate or proper, and quality education that they need for the enhancement of their thinking in building a strong nation.)
The Vice President also said that the resumption of in-person classes on Monday is a “victory” for the basic education, including the teaching and non-teaching staff, parents, local government units, and other education stakeholders.
“This is also the day when we made one of the important decisions on behalf of our children: a decision that will tremendously impact the future they are charting for themselves with our guidance,” she said.
Duterte reminded learners that it is themselves and their determination that could change their lives, and not their parents nor their teachers.
She also appealed to students to be respectful especially to their fellow students with special needs.
As of 7 a.m. Monday, August 22, over 28 million students, both from public and private schools, have already enrolled for SY 2022-2023.
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