An ecumenical youth group on Monday, July 18, called on the government to ensure the safe resumption of face-to-face classes and to prioritize the salaries of educators in the formulation of the national budget.
“It is the responsibility of teachers to teach in classrooms, but with the lack of assurance of safety for the resumption of classes, teachers have also carried the burden of other tasks, such as daily health check of students, monitoring of vaccination, and even solicitation for donations,” read a statement from the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines.
The youth group joined teachers and other education stakeholders in a demonstration outside the House of Representatives on Monday.
Kej Andres, spokesperson of the group said the said concerns of teachers were among the findings of the assessment done by the Movement for Safe, Equitable, Quality, and Relevant Education on the implementation of limited face-to-face classes from Nov. 15, 2021 to April 4, 2022.
“Students are excited to go back to school, but the government is sluggish in ensuring the safe resumption of classes,” said Andres, adding that the resumption of classes has been repeatedly reset “because of lack of readiness.”
In a separate statement, the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations of the Philippines clarified that it is not opposing the resumption of face-to-face classes.
The group said that what they are against is the ban on the conduct of online classes and other distance learning modalities starting November 2.
“We’ve been doing this for the past two years. We feel that students will benefit more if we continue with the benefits of online and combining it now with in-person classes,” Joseph Noel Estrada, spokesperson of the association.
He told a television interview on Friday, July 15, that parents want “blended” teaching, not a five-day school week in-person. “We want to support that preference,” said Estrada.
Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte earlier directed all private and public elementary and high schools to resume full face-to-face classes starting November 2.
Under her directive, physical distancing will only be implemented in schools “whenever possible.”