[Press Release] Youth decries DepEd ‘heartless’ distance learning proposal -SPARK

#HumanRights #Education

Youth decries DepEd ‘heartless’ distance learning proposal

A campus group slammed the Department of Education (DepEd) for its suggestion that the summer break in the school year be shortened to two weeks to make way for adjustments in the distance learning academic calendar.

DepEd undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio had made the comments in an interview on 24 Oras, while also explaining that the matter was still up for discussion.
But Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK), an activist youth organization, called the proposal “stupid”; claiming that it would only further turn learning under the COVID-19 pandemic into a privilege.

“We strongly doubt that the solution to the problem of inaccessible online classes, is to simply hold more online classes,” Justin Dizon, SPARK spokesperson for senior and junior high students, said in a statement.

“After months of students, teachers, workers, and parents calling for a pause to the academic year, the fact that DepEd comes up with the solution of extending the year just proves how little they care about their constituents or how much they know of its impacts,” he added.

SPARK pointed to the case of Susan Collano, DepEd’s regional director for Catanduanes, brushing off a student’s suicide as further proof that the department did not care about learning or students’ welfare.

Collano had questioned whether the suicide of a 10-year-old Grade 4 student was really linked to the pressure of completing modules, despite the original Facebook poster clearly stating it to be the case.

“Collano’s heartless attitude aligns perfectly with that of [DepEd Secretary Leonor] Briones’ last year, when she called for the public not to link the spate of student suicides to online learning,” Dizon pointed out.

“Instead of addressing the issue by creating policies that made online learning free, more accessible and less stressful, they prefer to wash the blood off their hands. Education officials must ponder on the thirty-four lives they have struck down,” he added.

The group further demanded that no efforts to return to a “normal” setup must be made without the safety of students being the primary consideration as COVID cases now stand at 559,288 with 2,40 new infections.

“No matter where Briones is pulling her 50% numbers from, throwing students back into schools right now would simply be asking them to get infected with COVID-19,” the activist explained.

“All students must first be vaccinated. Schools and their environments should first be retrofitted in order to ensure the safety of the students, teachers, and workers–and all without charging the students a single centavo,” he warned.

SPARK has launched multiple campaigns regarding distance learning, including multiple calls for a nationwide academic break in the wake of the failure of the distance learning scheme.

They continue to push for key reforms in the education sector’s “new normal” to adapt to the changing environment.


Press Release
February 21, 2021
Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK)
Ref. Justin Dizon

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