/ 13 April 2021

SENATOR Leila de Lima called on education stakeholders to focus on the needs of children to ensure their uninterrupted learning.

The senator stressed the need for more aggressive efforts to ensure that children continue their education amid the challenges brought about by the Covid19 pandemic.

She pointed out that a unified and sustained effort from all the education stakeholders involved is crucial to ensure that the children will grow to be effective members of society.

“We must realize that the pandemic has affected different areas in the Philippines differently. Some areas have maintained a low to zero infection rate for months already. The internet and technology access is also uneven with teachers and children in less urban communities struggling to send emails, much less stream lessons online,” De Lima said.

“These disparate situations call for a more nuanced approach to education with programs being tailor fit to the opportunities available and requirements needed in the various communities,” she added.

De Lima pointed out that children are just as, if not more, affected than adults by the pandemic, thus it is impossible to properly and fully respond to their needs.

“Some experts are calling today’s children as the ‘Pandemic Generation’.  As the prevailing discourse and focus surrounding Covid19 pandemic has primarily centered on its impact on adults, even less attention and regard is being given to children’s mental health and overall well-being amid the pandemic,” she said.

“Sadly, even the initial debates about school reopening are often framed around adults and the threat of transmission among carrier asymptomatic children instead of their emerging needs as affected learners in the face of this pandemic,” she added.

“When the country was placed under lockdown, weren’t they also forced to stay in their homes for extended periods, away from friends and classmates?” she asked.

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development filed Senate Bill 1872 in October 2020 proposing to exempt educational applications, gadgets, computers and e-books from value-added tax for the principal use of teachers and students in online and distant learning.