/ 20 November 2020

THE ALLIANCE of Concerned Teachers called on education officials to implement changes in the delivery of education to help students and their families rise from the pandemic and calamities.

“The recent calamities compounded by a criminally neglectful government cost our people lives, properties, rights, and dignity. Such injustice should compel the Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education to do their part in helping our people not only recover but stand taller in the aftermaths of disaster. This will entail urgent provision of needed assistance and resources, and bold adjustments to the content and conduct of education,” Raymond Basilio, the group’s secretary general, said in a statement.

ACT pressed the DepEd and CHED  to “think and act beyond the rigid academic framework of traditional education, and pursue relevant learning amid calamities by effecting alternative contents, modes, and conduct of education that respond to the needs of disaster-stricken Filipinos.”

It said that the DepEd’s ‘purported’  academic ease was not enough.

“For education to be relevant to the lives of our people during this trying time, the education system should serve as a wide-reaching, established network that helps victims rise above the situation, encourage people to help the victims, and educate the whole country about the current situation, disaster preparedness, and environmental protection, among other urgent and relevant issues,” Basilio said.

The present framework and design of distance learning have “only led to frustration and alienation,” making education a burden to the people, instead of a tool to surmount the pandemic and economic crisis, he said.

Education stakeholders recently called for strikes, academic break, ending of semesters, and the like as schools and learning materials were damaged by floods, and “families have more urgent needs to meet than to expend on internet load for online lessons that offer no concrete benefits to their urgent situation.”

This should prompt DepEd and CHEd to start rethinking the role and objectives of education in a crisis situation, Basilio said.

“They should suspend the implementation of unrealistic curricula and competencies, cancel traditional academic requirements, and do away with rigid class schedules and evaluation systems,” he said.

“They should allow the full exercise of academic freedom of teachers to identify the needs of the students, and determine the modes and conduct of learning as, at the end of the day, the teachers can evaluate if their students have learned something that is relevant to their lives, community, and country in this time of crisis,” he added.