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94% of Filipinos in favor of full face-to-face classes — survey

Around 94% of adult Filipinos agree that children must be allowed to attend face-to-face classes, a Pulse Asia survey commissioned by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian showed.

According to the survey, 67% strongly agree that children should be allowed to attend school physically or have face-to-face classes in the coming school year while 27% somewhat agree with the idea.

Of the 1,200 respondents across the Philippines, 4% cannot say if they agree or disagree, 2% disagrees, 1% somewhat disagrees, and 0.4% strongly disagrees with face-to-face classes for children.

Based on the survey, 86% from the National Capital Region, 94% from Luzon, 97% from Visayas, and 97% from Mindanao want face to face classes to resume.

The survey also showed that 85% from Classes ABC are in favor of the idea, 96% from Class D, and 92% from Class E.

The commissioned survey was conducted from June 24 to 27 through interview and has a margin of error of ± 2.8.

In a statement, Gatchalian, who is set to retain his chairmanship of the Senate basic education, culture, and arts committee in the 19th Congress, said this sends signal to the government that the resumption of face-to-face classes should no longer be halted after more than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic.

He reiterated the deep economic consequences of the prolonged lack of face-to-face classes in the country.

In September 2021,  the  National Economic Development Authority said the limit to students' learning ability due to the lack of face-to-face classes for a year will result in a projected P11-trillion loss in productivity over the next 40 years.

"Kung pakikinggan natin ang ating mga kababayan, makikita nating napakalakas ng panawagan para sa pagbabalik ng face-to-face classes. Hindi na natin maaari pang ipagpaliban ang pagbabalik ng ating mga kabataan sa paaralan at hindi na natin dapat hayaang mahuli ang sektor ng edukasyon mula sa pagbangon natin sa pandemya," said Gatchalian.

(If we will listen to the people, we can see that there is a strong call for the children to go back to face-to-face learning. We cannot postpone it again and we should not let the education sector be left behind in our recovery from the pandemic.)

The lawmaker also compared it to a survey in June 2021 which showed that only 44% of the respondents agreed on resuming physical classes, 33% cannot say if they agree or not on the idea, and 23% had disagreed to face-to-face learning.

While he supports the full in-person classes, the senator reiterated the need to boost the pediatric vaccination against COVID-19, prodding the Department of Education (DepEd) to proactively facilitate the operation of a more agressive school-based inoculation program in partnership with the Department of Health.

According to the lawmaker, there is around 86% vaccination rate among Filipinos aged 12 to 17 years old.

The only problem that the government faces in terms of implementing the back to school policy is the low vaccination rate of 26% among kids aged five to 11 years old, he added.

The Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday announced that School Year 2022-2023 will open on August 22 and will end on July 7, 2023.

In its school calendar, DepEd said schools will only be allowed to hold blended learning schedules and full-distance learning until October 31, 2022.

Starting November 2, all public and private schools should have transitioned to five days of in-person classes.—AOL, GMA News