Jul 2, 2020

Following reports of a dismal enrollment turnout for the coming school year, students and activists have amplified their call for an academic freeze for the coming school year. 

[READ: #NoStudentLeftBehind is a call for inclusivity, not an excuse for laziness]

Part of this movement is youth group Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK), who have called on Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman Prospero De Vera III to cancel planned online classes.

You Reap What You Sow, DepEd: Dismal enrollment numbers expose tonedeaf response to students’ plightAs we move another…

Posted by SPARK – Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan on Wednesday, July 1, 2020

In a statement released on their Facebook page, the group called the shift to online classes “anti-poor” and cited the plight of students from low-income families, who have to figure out how to catch up to online classes amid economic and financial difficulties. 

The group also noted the negative effect this may have on students’ mental health, which was the case for an Albay student who was driven to take their own life due to the financial strain brought on by online classes.

[READ: This comic strip reveals the heart-breaking reality for low-income students as classes go online]

“If 12 million students were left behind during the enrollment process alone, how many more stand to lose out in the months ahead? What use is a continuous yet low-quality and inaccessible form of education when our own future is at stake?” their statement reads.

Prior to this statement, other organizations have also raised concerns about the decision to resume classes during the pandemic. A policy brief released by the Ateneo de Manila University concluded that students from lower income groups are more likely to have difficulties utilizing online or alternative learning platforms.

Educators have also been facing difficulties adjusting to online classes. Last month, public school teachers from Davao de Oro were seen installing tents along the highway of upland areas in order to attend DepEd’s online teaching seminars. 

[READ: Walang signal: Davao de Oro public school teachers struggle to join webinar, camp upland]

After consulting with schools nationwide, DepEd announced that the school year 2020-2021 will begin on Aug. 24 and end on Apr. 30, 2021. Private schools will be allowed to open late or early as long as it’s within the date prescribed by law.

CHED noted that the resumption of classes in higher education institutions will depend on how classes are conducted. Colleges and universities utilizing full online education can open anytime, while those using flexible education modes can open anytime in August.


Header photo by Richard A. Reyes for Inquirer.net

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Read more:

Students won’t even be in classrooms, how come schools are charging miscellaneous fees? DepEd asks

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What will tuition fees look like in the aftermath of COVID-19?

TAGS: CHED commission on higher education department of education deped nolisoli Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan SPARK