Here’s a rare spot of good news.
Mayor Vico Sotto today said that Pasig City has allotted PHP1.3-billion (US426.7 million) worth of funds to purchase gadgets for use in distance or blended learning this school year.
“[T]ablets [will be given] to every public student in Pasig, and for teachers, laptops. Students with ICT [Information and Communications Technology] needs like junior high pupils at the Pasig City Science High School will also receive laptops,” Sotto said in English and Filipino during the Department of Education’s (DepEd) online press briefing.
Sotto did not specify a timeline for the gadget distribution. He added that Pasig City Hall will also offer Riso printing for education materials, and will improve public schools’ internet connectivity by working with private companies.
“Our key words this season is really adaptability and synergy. We won’t allow children’s learning and education to come to a halt because of the pandemic,” Sotto said, amid mounting calls for an “academic freeze” until the government implements mass testing for the coronavirus.
Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan rejected calls for an academic freeze in the same presser, claiming that the government has the support of both parents and teachers to resume classes in October.
“We believe that this call for [an] academic freeze is a populist position that is not popular, because we already have the support of as many as 24 million learners and their parents who have enrolled and are ready to participate in distance learning,” Malaluan said.
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the postponement of face-to-face classes in May to prevent the spread of the coronavirus until a vaccine becomes available. Both students and teachers have had to adjust to the challenges posed by blended learning, which combines several forms of media to educate.
Public schools were supposed to reopen in June, but it had to be postponed to Oct. 5 to give teachers enough time to prepare for the new learning method. Many private schools and universities have resumed classes in August.
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