Press Release
May 26, 2020

Locked down schools should not lead to education
being put in quarantine -- Recto

Even though the President has expressed his views on the issue, this should not stop education stakeholders from fine-tuning the ways which will allow our young to learn amidst the pandemic without making them sick.

Finding alternatives to face-to-face instruction is like answering a multiple choice test. To be sick should not be one of them.

Let us find the mix that will allow the 30 million children of this country to continue with their education without putting them in harm's way.

Let us see to it that even if schools are locked down, education is not placed in quarantine.

This can be done by customizing the alternatives -- distance learning, TV or radio-based instruction, home schooling, modular distance learning, online courses, ALS (Alternative Learning Systems), even radically-reduced class sizes in zero-COVID zones -- into one blend that will meet a learner's socioeconomic profile.

I have high confidence in the ability of the teachers of this land to adapt to the new normal, more so if they are empowered with the right tools to make a learner-centered adjustment.

In the meantime, let us work on our IT infrastructure to close the digital divide. The role of telcos -- including the third one -- to ramp up internet speed and penetration is crucial if lessons will be coursed via broadband.

Education should be deemed as an essential activity.

Our failure to work around the virus will spawn a lost generation that will hurt the future of this country. It will harm children of poor families who have embraced education as a ticket out of poverty. It will widen the gap between rich and poor.

Finding a system of instruction in which learning will not be hazardous to a child's health is hard. One particularly big challenge is how children in low-income households can cope with distance education or homeschooling.

But I have high hopes that the best minds in the land will be able to find a way, so that no child is left behind.

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