As School Year (SY) 2020-2021 formally ended on July 10, Senator Win Gatchalian pressed the urgent need for a thorough assessment of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) distance learning program to prepare for SY 2021-2022.
Gatchalian has filed Senate Resolution No. 739, which seeks to assess the preparedness of basic education institutions to deliver quality education for SY 2021-2022—whether through limited face-to-face classes, distance learning, or alternative delivery methods.
A Pulse Asia Survey that Gatchalian commissioned revealed that among adults with children in basic education, only 46 percent can say that their children are learning, 30 percent cannot say whether their children are learning or not learning, and 25 percent say that their children are not learning at all.
The same survey also revealed the top concerns raised by parents or guardians and learners: difficulty in answering modules (53 percent), intermittent internet connection (43 percent), difficulty in focusing or laziness to listen (42 percent), and lack of gadgets for online learning (36 percent).
While the pilot test of limited face-to-face classes is still deferred, Gatchalian said DepEd should still prepare for the eventuality of resuming in-person learning. Schools, for instance, should have adequate water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities.
“Mahalagang matuto tayo sa mga hamong kinakaharap natin sa distance learning upang maging mas maayos ang paghahatid natin ng edukasyon sa susunod na pasukan. Dapat patuloy rin ang paghahanda natin sakaling pahintulutan na ang pagkakaroon ng limited face-to-face classes,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian also added that there is an urgent need to address the “education crisis” which has long been evident in our learners’ poor performance in several global assessments before the pandemic struck. The problem has been aggravated by prolonged school closures, according to the senator.
Though DepEd is currently streamlining the K-12 curriculum, Gatchalian cited the need for more reforms in areas such as teacher quality and education governance. The lawmaker said that these will be tackled in the proposed revival of the Congressional Oversight Committee on Education (EDCOM).