Gatchalian: Deped seemed unprepared for August opening of classes

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian was concerned over Department Education’s seeming lack of details on the opening of classes for primary and secondary level on August 24. 

“To be honest, I get this sense na kulang sa detalye ang preparation ng considering na August 24 na ang pasukan which is three months from now. We are talking about 22 million public school learners and 5 million private school learners. Hindi madali ang preparation nito,” Gatchalian told reporters in an online interview after the hearing.

(To be honest, I get this sense that DepEd’s preparation lacks details, considering on August 24 is three months from now. We are talking about 22 million public school learners and 5 million private school learners. It is not easy to prepare for this.)

Gatchalian chairs the Senate basic education committee, which had a hearing with education officials and stakeholders to gauge the impact of COVID-19 crisis in the Philippine education sector. They are also tasked to create measures on ensuring learning continuity amid pandemic. 

“We have to make sure that all 27 million learners safe sila kung papasok sa eskwelahan. Kung ia-apply natin ang hybrid learning, matututo sila,” he added.

(We have to make sure that all 27 million learners could safely go to school. If we apply hybrid learning, they will learn.)

The senator said officials failed to show a detailed plan on how it would implement the “new normal” in a school setting. 

“Three months is barely enough to make sure that we have the necessary tools to make sure the safety of our students and they be taught properly under the new normal,” he said.

“Yung sagot kanina sakin ay hindi kumpleto…Ang binigay lang nila ay broad strokes and framework pero kulang sa detalye,” he added.

(Their answers to me are not complete. They gave broad strokes and framework, but it lacked details.)

Lack of trained teachers

Gatchalian added a survey of Asia Foundation that showed only 15 percent of teachers in the Philippines are trained on alternative learning (use of TV, radio, and to deliver education).

“So ibig sabihin, kung gagawa tayo ng hybrid learning, 15 percent lang ng teachers natin ang ready, 84 percent sinasabi nila hindi sila ready…Ang challenge dito ay to get all our teachers ready,” he said.

(So this means if we shift to hybrid learning, only 15 percent of our teachers will be ready while 84 percent are not. The challenge here is to get all our teachers ready.)

“That’s what I was pointing out earlier that we might think three months is a long time but if you talk about the training of teachers, buying equipment, getting the necessary medical tools, three months is barely enough time to make our school safe and get our teachers ready,” he added.

Gatchalian gave until May 31 to present to Senate basic education committee the details on measures needed to ensure the safety of both students and teachers should the classes resume on August 24.