Press Release
September 21, 2021

Tolentino welcomes pilot implementation of face-to-face classes in low-risk areas

MANILA - Senator Francis 'Tol N. Tolentino yesterday welcomed the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to allow the pilot testing of limited face-to-face classes in areas with low cases of COVID-19 infection.

Tolentino said allowing the pilot testing for limited face-to-face classes "is a good step towards normalization and improving the country's education system."

"We have lots of grounds to recover," he added.

A maximum of 100 public schools which have passed its "readiness assessment" will participate in the pilot test as per Malacañang.

As early as July, Tolentino has been pushing for the gradual resumption of face-to-face classes in low-risk island provinces in the country for this school year.

According to Tolentino, island provinces such as Guimaras, Biliran, Batanes, and Camiguin which have low or zero COVID-19 infection rate should be allowed by the national government to resume its face-to-face classes for students while still abiding with existing minimum health protocol guidelines by the Inter-Agency Taskforce (IATF).

Tolentino stressed that the distance learning modality--a combination of online and modular learning--isn't effective at all, considering the current connectivity problem of the country's telco.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) earlier has also recommended a limited resumption of face-to-face classes for academic year 2021-2022, noting that the current blending learning scheme has deeply affected the country's quality of education.

Socioeconomic Planning Sec. Karl Kendrick Chua told members of the Senate Committee on Finance during the budget deliberations in the upper house that a year without having face-to- face classes will result in a projected P11-trillion loss in productivity over the next 40 years.

Chua Noted that a year without physical classes will have a permanent effect on the student's abilities, especially when they enter the labor sector after graduation.

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