Several teachers had to set up tents on the side of the highway in Maco, Davao de Oro to get internet access and attend a three-day online seminar organized by the Department of Education (DepEd).
According to Cedric Castillo’s report on “24 Oras” on Thursday, the teachers from the New Leyte Elementary School and New Leyte National High School, camped out to join a webinar from June 17 to 19 to prepare them for the new normal in education as the country transitions to distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jesen Celebre, one of the teachers, said the highway, which was 15 minutes away from their homes, was the only place they could get an internet signal.
However, despite their situation, some of the teachers clarified that they are not complaining about it. In fact, they expressed gratitude to the DepEd as they were able to join the webinar.
“Bakit daw po namin pinost ko ‘yong picture para sa amin po is memories lang po. Wala po kaming intensiyon na sumira sa DepEd at tsaka sa government po,” Celebre said.
“‘Di ho kami nagko-complain na wala kaming internet connection or nahihirapan kami dahil alam po namin bilang isang guro na ito lang po ay isa lang sa mga sakripisyo na dapat naming gawin,” Ruthwella Domosmog said.
“Isa na po ‘yan sa aming mga sinumpaang tungkulin at naniniwala po ako na lahat tayo ay may ginagawang sacrifices, especially this time of pandemic,” Bregette Kem Ferolino added.
Several netizens, meanwhile, slammed the viral post of the teachers, even calling the DepEd “heartless.”
The DepEd Region 11, on the other hand, lauded the Davao de Oro teachers for finding ways to connect to the internet and join the webinar.
The agency said the teachers showed how much they wanted to learn about the new techniques in education amid the pandemic.
“[A]nd while news and posts on social media portray DepEd as heartless and unaware of our public teachers’ challenges, these very same teachers are thankful for the opportunity to learn and equip themselves with the skills appropriate for the unique challenges posed by the new normal,” DepEd Region 11 said.
“The teachers in these photos are laudable, let alone edifying. Despite the lack of resources like internet connection, these teachers went out of their way to be connected,” it added.
Further, the DepEd Region 11 assured that all teachers will be ready and equipped with enough resources come the opening classes in August.
“No excuses though for lack of equipment or internet connectivity especially in the far-flung areas. But DepEd will make sure the needed resources for the new learning modalities will be provided to them before the opening of classes,” it said.
The DepEd Region 11 also called on telecommunications companies, local government units and the Department of Information and Communication Technology to help the agency provide connectivity to teachers and students who are in far-flung areas.
“It is very important that internet service providers, telecommunications companies, local government units and the DICT work together in the spirit of bayanihan to provide internet services and connectivity to teachers who are ready to learn and be capacitated to facilitate learning under these very trying times,” it said. -Ma. Angelica Garcia/NB, GMA News