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Robredo pushes for small scale face-to-face classes in non-COVID-19 areas

Small-scale face-to-face classes in areas with no incidence of COVID-19 transmission should be considered to maximize government resources, Vice President Leni Robredo said Friday.

Robredo, who used to be a college professor, made the comments given that the Bayanihan 2 law only allocated P4 billion for distance learning in schools—an amount which she said is not enough.

“Kulang na kulang ito, considering iyong enormity ng problema. Kaya sana hindi one-size fits all, tignan kung paano mas maayos magagastos ang pera. Doon sa mga lugar na walang community transmission, puwede na mag face-to-face classes, in a small class lang or on rotation,” Robredo said during the Basta Batas forum.

“Hindi naman kailangan lahat blended learning kasi baka nagsasayang tayo ng resources na puedeng i-direct sa ibang bagay. Bakit natin ipipilit na modular lahat na magastos pala sa printing sa lugar na walang community transmission?“ Robredo added.

Under distance learning, students and teachers would need laptops, internet connection, modules that are printed or lessons aired via television or radio.

Robredo said that even amid the pandemic, quality education cannot be compromised due to lack of access to blended learning.

“Dapat data-driven iyong solusyon kasi baka naisasakripsiyo natin ang edukasyon na nakukuha ng learners. Intergenerational ang epekto nito,” Robredo said.

At least 24 million students have enrolled this school year despite the pandemic, but over 398,000 of those enrolled were previous students of private schools who transferred to public schools due to reduced incomes of households amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

During his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July, President Rodrigo Duterte said that limited face-to-face classes can only start by January 2021, considering the timelines of clinical trials on possible vaccines against COVID-19.

The Department of Education, for its part, moved the opening of classes from August 24 to October 5 to give students and teachers more time to get ready for blended learning. — Llanesca T. Panti/RSJ, GMA News