/ 17 July 2021

ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro on Friday urged the Department of Education to ensure that schools are adequately equipped to implement different modes of learning.

She stressed that the government must see to it that learners have better access to safe and quality education.

“We cannot accept another year of more youths dropping out of schools because of lack of access to quality education. The Duterte administration through the DepEd must ensure that they make steps towards safe reopening of schools,” Castro said.

The lawmaker added that there have been studies and recommendations by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States, UNICEF and proposals from the Philippine Pediatric Society on how to safely reopen schools for face-to-face classes.

These include the strict use of masks, imposing physical distancing, mapping out the country to determine risk levels and determining the readiness of school facilities.

Castro said that thousands of school children have dropped out and teachers are overworked because distance blended learning continues to be a burden.

The pandemic, she added, worsened the perennial problems of the education system.

“Hindi rin maaaring iasa lamang sa pagbabakuna ng mga kabataan at guro ang muling pagbubukas ng face-to-face na pag-aaral. Sa bagal at kakulangan ng mga bakuna na mayroon ang ating bansa, malabong sapat na nabakunahan na ang lahat ng mga guro at kabataan para sa paulit-ulit na sinasabi ng Pangulo na ‘no vaccine, no face-to-face classes’ sa darating na pasukan.  Ngayon pa lang, dapat gumagawa na ng paraan ang ating pamahalaan upang sa lalong madaling panahon ay makabalik na sa pisikal na pagbubukas ng klase ang mga kabataan na hindi lamang umaasa sa bakuna,” Castro said.

She urged the DepEd to set up the policies, facilities and equip teachers and students for face-to-face classes.