/ 6 March 2021

THE ALLIANCE of Concerned Teachers questioned the accuracy of the data presented by the Department of Education to the Senate on the number of students who passed in the first quarter of School Year 2020-2021.

The group said that out of the 25 million enrolled students, the DepEd report only cited 14.5 million students who passed and 126,674 who got failing marks, which leaves 10 million learners unaccounted for.

The report was presented during a public hearing held by the Senate Committee on Basic Education last Wednesday. ACT said the DepEd claimed that 99 percent of students got passing marks during the period.

“We ask the DepEd officials to stop spewing lies to cover up for the failure of distance learning and instead focus on implementing education reforms to salvage the rest of the school year and ensure safe and quality education for all,” Raymond Basilio, the group’s secretary general, said.

Basilio said that ACT’s ground monitoring showed that many teachers were compelled to give an “incomplete” grade because many of their students were not able to keep up with the lessons and complete their requirements.

The group said that Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian’s data on the 55 percent passing rate among Valenzuela City students seemed more realistic than DepEd’s claim.

The group lamented that teachers face the dilemma of how to justifiably grade their students, knowing that the learning conditions are unfavorable and the government support is sorely lacking for them to learn.

Basilio said that there was little to no input and live contact that teachers can provide in modular modality, and poor children who have no adult guidance and internet access are at a disadvantage.

“It would be very unfair for learners to be mechanically flunked and their promotion be gravely affected mainly because this government failed to address the pandemic and provide an effective blended learning program,” he said.

Basilio said that “the government owes it to our students” to swiftly provide solutions to the worsening learning crisis and salvage the rest of the school year.

He urged the government to exert all efforts to enable the gradual transition to safe in-person classes while providing for all the needs of distance learning.

“It is in the face-to-face set-up that teachers can really assess their students and provide ample solutions to improve and enrich their students’ competencies. Once we have reopened the schools, the DepEd can conduct a comprehensive diagnostic test to identify the learning gaps and draw a program on how to address this. If the government really cares for our learners, they need to stop reducing their woes to manipulated numbers and find concrete solutions on how to save education from the crisis,” Basilio said.