Press Release
October 1, 2020

Sandigan News interview ni Senator Win Gatchalian kasama si Dheza Penaranda at Erwin Cortez ukol sa pagbubukas ng klase sa Oktubre at Alternative Learning System Act

Q: We're four days away from opening of classes, do you think we're ready after six weeks of postponement?

SEN WIN: Based on my information on the ground, I consult our principles directly, our division schools, our superintendent and aside from consulting DepEd, other private school organizations, I consult people directly, the modules have been distributed close to around 80 to 85 percent. The school divisions are still distributing their modules, majority of our students are learning from modules. Unfortunately, less than 40% of our families in our public school system have access to the internet or some sort of gadget so the vision of using online learning for public school system seems remote and not completely feasible. Having said that, the alternative mode is the modules, these are the modules our students will receive for the kindergarten all the way to grade 3, parental guidance and parental support is very important because these are young kids, they need a lot of guidance and direction so the parents will play an active role in their learning. Those who are in grade 4 and above, the'yre considered intermediate and independent learners so they can learn just by following the modules which are designed for students to learn by themselves and then the teachers will monitor and assess if indeed they are learning or not.

Q: We're doing alternative modes, but do we have plans to shift to digitalization later on?

SEN WIN: In the long run we really need to practice what we call blended learning, we need to make blended learning as the better normal of our education system. Meaning all children will have to learn via face-to-face and via online, that should be the norm already. In many international schools, probably all international schools and also schools abroad, you have to have a laptop and internet access as a minimum requirement even in the elementary level and the reason for that is aside from enhancing your learning, it's also for us to transition fast. If your remember correctly when the pandemic struck, it took us a long time to figure out what to do to continue our classes. If we had online learning built in and if we are practicing blended learning then transitioning will be easier and faster, that is in the long run because we admit that it will cost the families to buy the gadgets and government needs to put the necessary infrastructure because even though you have gadgets, if you don't have connectivity it is impossible to pursue that and at the same time we have to tweak our curriculum in order to implement that. Our curriculum is based on face-to-face but we need to finetune and tweak our curriculum in order to implement blended learning.

Q: Under sa Bayanihan 2 anong measures meron tayo para sa ating basic education?

SEN WIN: Dito sa Bayanihan 2 meron tayong tatlong mahalagang suporta na ibibigay sa ating mga estudyante at guro. Number one, meron tayong mga estudyante na hindi nakapag-aral, na na-displace dahil marami sa kanila nagkaroon ng problema sa pinansyal at hindi nakapag-enroll. meron tayong 300 million to help our students that were displaced. Then meron tayong 600 million to help our teachers and non-teaching staff who were displaced. Marami tayong mga private schools na nagsara dahil sa kakulangan sa enrollment, kakulangan sa suporta at kapital kaya sila nagsara kaya ang gobyerno ay papasok dito para matulungan ho natin sila. Pangatlo, meron din tayong pondo nilaan, 4 billion para sa DepEd para sa pagbili ng gadgets at iba pang mga kagamitan na may kaugnayan sa online learning.

Q: 4 billion na yun, just last week hindi pa sigurado ang DepEd ano gagawin doon sa pondo. Do they know now how they will spend the 4 billion? is it for laptops for our teachers?

SEN WIN: My suggestion to them is to spend the entire 4 billion for laptops and gadgets for our teachers. Importante na ang ating mga guro ay may sapat na kagamitan, hindi na magagamit ngayon yung chalk and blackboard ang kailangan nila ngayon ay laptops dapat gamitin itong pondo sa pagbibili ng laptops at dapat bigyan ng connectivity ang ating mga guro dahil yung mga guro natin nauubos ang sariling pera nila para sa data plan at pangtawag sa mga estudyante. So importante na mabigyan sila ng suporta sa pagbili ng gadgets para dito sa online learning.

Q: Regarding dito sa mga internet connectivity problems natin, may mga hakbang na ba tayo dito sa magiging new normal sa ating paaralan?

SEN WIN: Hindi kaagad magagawa yung mga solusyon dito, medium-term to long-term yung pagpapatayo ng cell sites, aminin natin, kulang talaga ang cell sites sa ating bansa at pag kulang, hindi talaga aayos yung connectivity at ganun rin hindi rin bibilis, may connectivity nga putol-putol naman at mabagal. So isang paraan para bumilis ang internet sa ating bansa ay ang pagpapatayo ng mga cell sites.

Q: You are the author of the ALS Act, ano po yung update dito? Are we expecting this will be passed by the end of the year?

SEN WIN: Definitely, we will now transmit to the President for his signature. The President is a former Mayor so alam niya yung kalahagaan ng ALS, sigurado ako ang ALS ang isang programang kabisado niya at susuportahan niya. Within two to three weeks mapipirmahan ito ng ating Pangulo at magiging ganap na batas na.

Q: Bilang pangwakas at para sa World Teacher's Day sa October 5, ano po yung inyong mensahe sa ating education sector lalo na sa ating mga guro nagsisipag para mabigyan ng better normal itong ating mga estudyante?

SEN WIN: Binabati ko po yung ating mga guro ng Happy World Teacher's Day this October 5 at nagpapasalamat ho ako sa kanila sa kanilang sakripisyo dahil itong pandemya hindi madali ito, marami sa kanila ay takot na lumabas, marami sa kanila may agam-agam lumabas para magturo, marami sa kanila may senior citizen sa bahay at natatakot na baka mahawaan nila pero ganunpaman alam nating lahat na determinado pa rin silang magturo dahil alam nila na kapag huminto ng pag-aaral ang ating kabataan, mas mahihirapan silang matuto sa hinaharap. Maraming salamat sa ating mga guro at gagawin namin ang aming makakaya para masuportahan yung kanilang pangangailangan lalo na sa ilalim ng pandemya tulad ng mga testings, hospitalizations at treatments, hindi namin sila pababayaan.

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