MANILA – With a little more than three weeks to go before classes officially open, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Thursday urged the education sector to ensure that the burden that may result from the transition to flexible modes of learning amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic will not be passed on to students, especially the poor.
“Schools and education officials must guide students in order for them to adjust to new modes of learning. Siguraduhin natin na lahat ng mga estudyante ay mabibigyan ng pantay na oportunidad sa ilalim ng ating (Let us ensure that all students will be given equal opportunities under the) learning continuity plan in all levels of education,” Go said.
“Despite the current health crisis, our aim is to ease the burden for our students and also their families,” he added.
In urging for equal opportunity in education, the chair of the Senate Committee on Health noted that the consequences of the current health crisis on education make it imperative to look not only in the government’s capability to adjust to these challenges but also the students’ capability to respond to the new norm of education – the online platform.
Go said even if the government offers free education in many state colleges and other vocational schools, many students are facing issues other than tuition that are intensified further due to the adverse socio-economic impact of the pandemic.
The prospects are especially grim for the majority of college and vocational students who come from poor families, he said.
“Marami pa rin sa ating mga mag-aaral ang mahihirap at naghahanap ng paraan para maitawid ang kanilang mga nagugutom na sikmura habang nag-aaral. Ano pa ngayong may pandemya na? Ibig sabihin, mas mahirap po ang sitwasyon ngayon (Many of our students are still poor and trying to find ways to feed their empty while studying. What more now that there is a pandemic? It means the situation is now more difficult),” he said.
He noted that the situation of poor students is confounded by their lack of access to digital equipment and internet connection.
“Sana naman po ay walang bumagsak na estudyante dahil kulang sa kagamitan, walang access sa teknolohiya, o hindi sapat ang kaalaman sa bagong modes of learning na maiimplementa ngayon. Kung tayo nga po sa Senado ay nahihirapan pa sa Zoom, tulad ngayon, napuputol-putol po ang ating connection, paano po sila – ang mga estudyante?” Go said.
(We hope that no students will fail because of their lack of equipment, no access to technology, or lack of knowledge to the new modes of learning that will be implemented. If we in the Senate are still having difficulty with Zoom, like now, our connection is intermittent, what more for them – the students?)
He urged concerned agencies to take these issues in consideration while trying to ensure that education continues despite the health crisis.
“This is so that we can continue to improve our education system and bridge the gaps of learning without giving more stress mentally, emotionally, and financially,” Go said. (PNA)