The Philippines announced on Friday, August 14, the postponement of the opening of classes in the country until October 5 this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones announced that President Rodrigo Duterte approved the proposal to re-schedule the start of the school year.
Briones said among the reasons cited for the postponement are the logistical restrictions due to stricter quarantine measures implemented in many parts of the country.
In areas where quarantine restrictions are more relaxed, teachers were ordered to continue the dissemination of learning materials and other preparations.
“We trust that this is the final adjustment of the school opening,” said Briones in a statement.
The order to postpone the opening of schools also applies to private schools, said the education official, except for those that have already started their classes.
Prior to the announcement, legislators and activist groups called on the government to hold off the resumption of classes due to lack of preparations for distance learning.
However, the Education department doubled down their decision to resume classes on its initial opening date on August 24.
“This August 24 opening is already the furthest of what is legally allowed,” Briones said during a virtual press briefing on August 10.
In a statement released on Friday, August 14, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers described the decision to postpone the start of classes a “victory.”
“We have proven today that the people’s voices can and will triumph, and we shall continue to push the government to fulfill the requisites for a safe, accessible, and quality education,” said the group.
The youth group Kabataan said “the truth has finally come to light” and the adjustment of school opening is an admission “that we are grossly unprepared to start a new academic year.”
The group renewed its call for a “comprehensive, health-based, and pro-people pandemic response.”
“Education is a right and the government should ensure that everyone will be able to continue their studies, especially amid the pandemic,” read the group’s statement.