Press Release
February 27, 2021

Reso on F2F classes

SCHOOLS should reopen and face-to-face classes resume now so the country's educational system can catch up with its neighbors in South East Asia, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said over the weekend as he rallied his colleagues to adopt his proposed Senate Resolution No. 663.

In filing PSRN 663, Sotto insisted "there is no substitute to face-to-face classes, which is probably the best way to arrest the decline in (education) quality and to improve learner outcomes" in the country.

"There are deep concerns that while countries whose students had performed well in the past international assessments are already back on track, the Philippines is still lagging behind using the blended learning method, which to many is not an effective means due to lack of access to internet and gadgets by majority of pupils and students," Sotto said.

The Senate President noted that while many countries had already reopened their schools and allowed physical classes to resume, the Philippines remains one of the 14 countries out of 150 countries worldwide and the only country in South East Asia that has kept its schools closed.

Sotto said there is a need for the Philippines to play catch-up with the rest of the world since the country has fared poorly in assessments conducted prior to the pandemic by local and international bodies, such as the National Achievement Test (NAT), Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS), and Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM).

"As education is the key to any country's success, there is really a need to start opening up because the Philippines is continually being left behind, being the only country in South East Asia with no face-to-face classes," he said.

Under PSRN 663, Sotto is recommending the immediate reopening of schools and the resumption of face-to-face classes in areas where there are few or zero COVID-19 cases.

He said local school boards, namely the Provincial School Board, the City School Board, and the Municipal School Board will be authorized to assess and recommend whether to reopen or lockdown schools and allow physical classes to resume in their respective jurisdictions.

Government data shows there are approximately 433 cities and municipalities throughout the country that do not have any COVID-19 cases. On the other hand, the Department of Education has said that more than 1,000 schools nationwide are ready for face-to-face classes.

"I am fully aware that the threat of COVID-19 remains high, there are also reports that the virus is mutating and more variants are being discovered. But we cannot sacrifice the future of our youth. Our fears should not make us paranoid to the point of making us blind to how grim the future would be if our children do not get quality education," Sotto said.

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