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Home-based learning may be 'new normal' in upcoming school year -Gatchalian

Learning outside school buildings may be the new normal that will welcome the students as schoolyear 2020-2021 opens in August, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said Wednesday.

In a statement, Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Education, said every platform must be maximized to ensure that the education and safety of over 27 million students would not be compromised amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aside from printed educational materials and the internet, learning via television and radio could also be made possible, considering that not all students have the means to go online, Gatchalian said.

"Marami pa rin sa ating mga mag-aaral sa buong bansa ang hindi nakakagamit ng internet, kaya malaki ang potensyal ng radyo at telebisyon upang maipagtuloy natin ang edukasyon sa loob ng ating mga tahanan," he said.

He also proposed that the subjects under the Department of Education's Learning Continuity Plan could be reduced only to core subjects for the meantime.

Gatchalian said the remaining three months should be used by teachers, parents, and students in preparation for this proposed home-based learning system as the face-to-face classroom set-up may still risk transmission of COVID-19.

On Tuesday, the DepEd announced that the upcoming school year will start on August 24.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he would still push for the bill which would authorize President Rodrigo Duterte to reschedule the opening of classes for contingency purposes, in case a second wave of COVID-19 transmission occurs.

The inter-agency task force leading the country's COVID-19 response initially recommended to move the opening of classes to September.

As of May 5, the Philippines recorded a total of 9,684 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 637 deaths and 1,408 recoveries. --Dona Magsino/KBK, GMA News