Fri. Feb 26th, 2021

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go appealed to the national government to extend more support for public school teachers given the challenges they are facing due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Specifically, Go cited the struggles that teachers are experiencing in the blended learning approach being implemented while face-to-face classes are still not allowed.

The Department of Education (DepEd) earlier sought approval for the release of its Early Language Literacy and Numeracy (ELLN) Program Support Fund that aims to capacitate K-to-3 teachers and instructional leaders on pedagogical knowledge and skills on literacy and numeracy. The program also aims to achieve improved reading and numeracy skills of K-to-3 learners, strengthen teachers’ capability to teach, and assess reading and numeracy skills.

“Let us continue to support our teachers, especially during this pandemic. These times are not easy. Holding classes has become difficult because of many challenges, especially under the current blended learning system,” Go said in Filipino.

The proposed ELLN Fund amounts to P20 million and will support the Region-wide Training on the Adoption of the Blended Delivery Model for Teacher Professional Development.

A portion of the fund will be allocated for the procurement of learning materials for teachers’ training. It will also be used to subsidize communication expenses for prepaid internet load to enable teachers, school heads, and supervisors to sustain online training and learning action cells.

For Senator Go, granting this budget is an important step towards supporting teachers, especially after President Rodrigo Duterte cancelled this January’s dry run of face-to-face classes due to the recent discovery of new, faster-spreading strains of Covid-19.

The ELLN Support Fund for the school year 2020 was originally intended for the face-to-face training of supervisors and school heads across the country. Because of the pandemic, DepEd converted the initial training design to blended learning.

Go emphasized that education must continue to remain a priority despite the transition to the blended learning approach. He vowed to support measures that strengthen the education sector as well as protect the rights and welfare of students and teachers.

Earlier, he filed Senate Bill No. 396 in 2019 to expand the purposes and application of the Special Education Fund that he proposed to be used for the operation and maintenance of public schools, payment of salaries, allowances and other benefits of teaching and non-teaching personnel, competency trainings for teaching personnel, operation of Alternative Learning System (ALS), including payment of salaries, allowances and other benefits of ALS facilitators; educational research; teaching aids; and other instructional materials, among others.Meanwhile, Go also assured teachers that they will be prioritized when a safe and effective vaccine against Covid-19 is approved. Aside from teachers, the government also committed to prioritize other frontliners, such as uniformed personnel and medical workers, aside from poor and vulnerable sectors. SOVEREIGNPH

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