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Youth lament lack of education guidelines, plans amid COVID-19


After Education Secretary Leonor Briones maintained that classes for the school year 2020-2021 would resume on August 24 amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, youth leaders on Saturday lamented the lack of a comprehensive plan for education a month before classes are set to resume.

“Isang buwan bago ang pagbubukas ng klase, wala pang malinaw na guidelines para sa edukasyon on the new normal,” the Millennials PH said at the State of the Youth Address 2020.

“[I]to ay hindi lang pakiusap, isa itong hamon sa kagawaranat sa administration na tugunan ang mga pangangailangan sa sektor ng edukasyon,” it added.

Meanwhile, the National Union of the Students of the Philippines (NUSP) said that the public is now experiencing the effects of President Rodrigo Duterte’s "anti-mamayan" approach to the education system.

“Sa edukasyon, wala paring malinaw na plano ng ligtas na pagbabalik eskwela. Dahil ngayon ay wala parin silang balak na isakatuparan ‘yung mga medikal na solusyon na pangunahing sasagot sa problema ng ating pandemya,” NUSP secretary general Blaise Bellosillo said.

“Para pagtakpan ‘yung kanilang malubang pagkukulang at inkompetensya, pinipilit nila ngayong ipatupad ‘yung distance learning o flexible learning sa edukasyon sa kolehiyo,” she added.

Bellosillo pointed out that many students are asking for donations for gadgets while some have chosen to temporarily stop their education.

The Millennials PH, meanwhile, said that the problem will not stop even if gadgets and internet connection are provided for the children.

“Kahit mabigay natin ‘yan, andyan pa rin ang hinaing ng maraming magulang na hindi kayang ibigay ang kinakailanganing tulong ng kanilang mga anak, na isa rin sa rason kung bakit sila takot na i-enrol ang mga estudyanteng ito,” it said.

“Hindi ito tungkol lamang sa pag pro-provide ng gadgets na kahit ‘yun nga ay hindi mabigyan ng pansin. Dapat tignan natin ang problema sa edukasyon bilang isang buong problema,” it added.

It also urged the government to lay down a comprehensive plan.

“Ayaw nating madagdagan pa lalo ang paghihirap ng mga estudyante. Kaya ang gusto sana nating marinig ay isang komprehensibong plano na tutuwangan ng nilalaang pondo at sapat na panahon ng pagplaplano,” it said.

Meanwhile, Robin Aquino of the University of the Philippines Diliman College of Education student council asked the government to prioritize the public instead of their personal interests.

“Hinahamon din ng konseho ang gobyerno na unahin ang panigurado sa kaligtasan ng magaaral, guro, at magulang at hindi ang kanilang pansariling kita at interes, lalo na sa mga pribadong institusyon,” Aquino said.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones recommended face-to-face classes in areas considered as "low risk" for COVID-19 transmission but on a limited basis — which President Rodrigo Duterte approved.

The Philippines reported a total of 78,412 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 25,752 recoveries and 1,897 fatalities.  — DVM, GMA News