Press Release
August 17, 2020

Bong Go urges DepEd to use additional time to better prepare teachers and students amid school year opening postponement

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go urged the Department of Education and other education stakeholders to use the time provided by the postponement of the 2020-2021 school year opening to develop and further improve flexible distance learning programs to avoid putting additional unnecessary burden on students and teachers who are still struggling to adapt to new modes of learning and teaching.

"Gamitin natin ang dagdag na oras upang plantsahin at ayusin ng mabuti ang lahat ng mga plano sa pag-conduct ng flexible o blended learning. Siguraduhin nating magiging maayos ang implementasyon para hindi na madagdagan ang paghihirap ng mga tao," Go explained.

"Siguraduhin rin natin na lahat ng mga estudyante ay mabibigyan ng pantay na oportunidad sa ilalim ng ating learning continuity plan in all levels of education. Despite the current health crisis, our aim is to ease the burden on our students and also their families," he further emphasized.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, Go said that while the government understands the importance of education, above all, the right to live and the need to prioritize the welfare of many must be of utmost priority.

"We can continue to improve our education system and bridge the gaps of learning without giving more stress physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially," he said.

"Huwag po natin biglain at pilitin, at baka naman dumugo. Kapag binigla natin ang pagbalik sa normal ng klase, buhay po ng mga bata ang itinataya natin. Kapag pinilit natin ang makabagong paraan ng online learning, mahihirapan rin ang estudyante kung hindi sila makapag-adjust ng maayos," he added.

Go earlier appealed to the Executive branch to postpone the opening of the new school year to give more time for students, teachers, learning institutions, education authorities and the general public to better prepare and fine tune the country's flexible continuity learning plans. President Rodrigo Duterte recently decided to move the opening of classes to October 4 of this year.

"Katulad ng sinabi ko noon pa, hindi ako sang-ayon na magsimula ang klase kung hindi pa handa ang lahat. That is why I supported the measure allowing the President to move the opening of classes when it was tackled in the Senate months ago," Go explained.

Last July 17, 2020, Duterte signed into law Republic Act 11480, giving authority to the President of the Philippines, upon the recommendation of the Education Secretary, to set a different date of opening of school year in the country or parts thereof in cases of the declaration of state of emergency or state of calamity. It shall apply to all basic educational institutions, including international schools.

"Katulad ng sinabi ko noon, dapat siguraduhin na makakapag-aral ang ating mga estudyante sa maayos at ligtas na paraan. This is also in line with the President's position of always prioritizing the safety and welfare of our people," Go said as he consistently emphasized that in the absence of a COVID-19 vaccine, no face-to-face classes must be conducted as well.

"Mas magiging kawawa ang mga estudyante kung ituloy natin pero hindi pa handa ang lahat. Mas kawawa rin ang mga teachers. Hirap na po ang mga Pilipino, huwag na nating dagdagan pa ng pressure ang mga bata at mga magulang nila," he added.

Go also clarified that postponing opening of classes is not just to provide government more time to prepare, but also to provide students and their families time to recuperate and recover from the socio-economic impact of the crisis so they can be more prepared to attend class.

"Sa totoo lang, marami pang mga estudyante ngayon na walang pambili ng mga gamit pang eskwela at walang access sa computer, tablet o iba pang gadgets dahil nawalan ng trabaho o pagkakakitaan ang kanilang pamilya. Karamihan rin wala pang pambayad ng matrikula o iba pang gastusin," Go shared.

Go also encouraged the education department to make sure that all teachers are adequately equipped and trained to use the new teaching platforms.

"Importante rin masigurong handa ang mga teachers natin. Kailangan handa sila na gumamit ng mga makabagong paraan para masigurong hindi makompromiso ang matututunan ng estudyante," he continued, adding that "regardless of the mode of learning, the quality of education will still depend on the ability of educators to perform their functions well in the new normal."

Go went on to express concern over the ongoing public health crisis that has exacerbated economic inequality in the country, and affected many low-income students' focus on education.

"Ayaw nating maipasa ang burden sa estudyante at ma-pressure sila dahil sa makabagong paraan ng pag-aaral kung hindi pa naman po handa ang lahat," he added.

Finally, the Senator impressed upon DepEd to ensure that limited access or knowledge of technology should not be cause for Filipino students to fail.

"Sana naman po ay walang bumagsak na estudyante dahil sa kakulangan sa kagamitan, walang access sa teknolohiya, o hindi sapat na kaalaman sa bagong modes of learning na maiimplementa ngayon," said Go.

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