Tag Archives: ASSERT

[Statement] On world teachers’ day: Our new ‘front liners’ rush on preparations while Gov Mamba greeted them with criticisms-Assert

On world teachers’ day: Our new ‘front liners’ rush on preparations while Gov Mamba greeted them with criticisms-Assert

Instead of kind words for risking life and limb as they confront education in new normal, the teachers were greeted by ungrateful and irresponsible remarks of Governor Mamba. ‘Sumasahod lang, pero walang ginagawa,’ was the governor’s criticism.

No amount of explanation, which is not even a sincere apology, from Governor Mamba could appease the teachers. His display of insensitivity towards the teachers’ plight is a manifestation of how detached government officials are to the cries of woes and despair of teachers, the pillars of education who have been trying to build the eroded moral values of this society. No thanks to the culprits, the corrupt officials.

Teachers’ efforts are time and again been disregarded and push to the sidelines. This new normal brought us all to a radically changed education landscape that is bringing unimaginable toll on teachers. The governor’s remarks just show how detached he is to the realities on the ground. Teachers are on call 24/7 to respond to chat-groups of learners and parents and of their superiors. Unlimited messages of instructions and commands from their bosses any time of the day implicitly tell them that they are on call 24/7. The new ‘work from home’ arrangements for teachers had already taken most of their waking hours and rob them of their time for their families and themselves.

Six weeks since the announcement of the extension of the opening of classes, DEPED was still not able to deliver the essentials for blended learning. During DEPED’s press conferences and interviews, they showcase exemplary schools that do not represent the general situation on the ground.

The six weeks of the extension were spent on the non-essentials like bombarding teachers with so many webinars, despite the fact that most of these will not be used in blended learning. Most enrollees chose the modular approach and because the majority of learners do not have internet access. So for what are the endless webinars? Hence, after six weeks, the much-needed modules are still to be produced. This prompted teachers and school principals to find ways and means to produce urgently needed learning materials.

‘From front liners we become print liners,’ jokingly says Randy Alfon, a Bulacan teacher – leader. He and his co-teachers, just like the rest, rush their ‘printing jobs’ for modules and learning activity sheets or LAS.

Teachers could not even think of pausing to commemorate the World Teachers’ Day which happens to be on October 5. How could they? This past two weeks, they have been printing materials up to the wee hours of the morning. Teachers have been complaining of being ‘zombies’ with only four to five hours of sleep.

With no health insurance and health support, teachers are literally putting their lives at risk in performing their duties. The demand for mass testing for teachers was not heeded. Our basic demand for DEPED to address the gaps and inequalities in education new normal all fell on deaf ears making the ‘education for all’ slogan, just that, a mere slogan. So many of our learners especially the least privileged are still left behind. DEPED is content with the turnout of enrollees when they know damn well that this is not an assurance of access to education. Without the needed support to families that are not capable of performing home-assisted learning, education access will just remain a call and a goal.

Time and again we witness how DEPED fails us in extending needed support and services while we perform our duties and social responsibilities. Just like how this government fails its people in dealing with this pandemic crisis. Just like how it has been failing us as we battle with past disasters.

Thus, on the occasion of the World Teachers’ Day, it is with great resolve that we vow with utmost vigor to forward our issues and concerns. We resolve to join the collective voices of our people who, like us, are continually being displaced in this pandemic and are further disenfranchised by the government’s mis-priorities, inaction, and often anti-poor policies.

Let us not forget that all the rights we enjoy now are fruits of long years of struggle of our forebears in the teachers’ movement. Let us bear in mind that all the pro-teacher laws we invoke in claiming for what is ours are hard-earned victories. Not a single benefit was delivered to us in a silver platter.

Our years of world teachers’ day commemoration and our years of service as teachers should have already taught us that we only have ourselves to rely on. The likes of Governor Mamba and his league in the government once again brings the message that we can never count on them.

Thus, in this significant day, let us commit to all the more strengthen our unions and associations. It is the only one that would genuinely fight for our rights and welfare. It is the only one that could restore the dignity of the teaching profession.

Official Statement on World Teachers Day Reference: ARLENE JAMES PAGADUAN 0920 659 5863 National Chairperson October 5, 2020

assert_wtd2020_challenge #insensitive_mamba #october5_opening_still_not_ready #address_gaps_and_inequities_in_education_new_normal

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[Statement] Stable internet connection: crucial in education new normal -ASSERT

Stable internet connection: crucial in education new normal

Building the needed internet infrastructure is crucial for education in the new normal to succeed.

DepEd is missing this point.

The sorry state of our internet connection is the number one hindrance in ensuring access and equity in education today. Gadgets and laptops, ICT tools, and webinars will only work favorably with stable wifi access. Even the much flaunted DepEd Commons is useless without a reliable internet connection.

To date, Philippine’s internet speed is at 15.1 Mbps while the global average is at 26.12 Mbps. We ranked 103rd out of 139 countries. Sixty-one percent (61%) of the 23 million households in the country have no internet access. Our current internet users already account for 43.5% of the total population. Add to this the bulk of the 27 million students of basic education and the almost one million teachers who will be forced to use the internet to access learning and resources. This is a very big volume of users. It is simply impossible for the current state of internet connection to accommodate. Imagine the internet traffic we will all be experiencing and its adverse effect on online learning and other internet-dependent facets of life and work.

Blended learning, with its so many missing details, just highlights the gap in education access. If you are poor, learn through radio programs and printed modules. If you have the means, enjoy easy access through online and digital tools. To date, DepEd Commons boasts of 7million subscribers. That is a mere 25.9% of the 27 million students of basic public education. Even if the disadvantaged learners are able to access online lessons they will just be left on their own. Their parents are at work during the day and they cannot afford to pay for tutors.

The goal of education and the government should be to electrify the countryside and build the needed internet infrastructure. They should target providing free wifi to barangays so all learner households could have online access. Targeting the schools could come later since the face-to-face mode is not encouraged. From here, it could come up with specific targets and timeframes until every barangay is electrified and has a strong internet connection.

All efforts and formula for education in the new normal will come to naught if the government does not decisively address this glaring need.###

#AddressClassDivideInEducation
#AdressGapsInEducationNewNormal
#InsureAccessToEducation

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[Statement] On the August 24 ‘new normal’ school opening: address the gaps and fulfill basic requisites first -ASSERT

On the August 24 ‘new normal’ school opening: address the gaps and fulfill basic requisites first

DEPED is poised on opening this school year on August 24 amidst confusion and disarray on the ground.

Parents are opting not to send their children to school pending vaccine and assurance of safety against the contagion. Teachers and school heads could not answer the queries of parents and students about the details of the ‘new normal’ and multi-modal learning that DepEd is announcing. The August 24 opening is anchored on so many questions and uncertainties.

The date is incidental. When do we really say ‘we are ready?’ DepEd should make clear its benchmark and accomplish it. Uncertainty hangs over because DepEd pronouncements are not substantiated. Nothing is moving on the ground.

How do we insure the health protocols in schools? How would social distancing be implemented? Will there be shifting of classes? Do we get more teachers and have more classrooms to meet the 15 – 20 class size?

When 61% of 23 million households have no internet connection and 74% of the 47,013 schools have no internet access, how do we proceed with the online learning?
What infrastructures should be put up for the multi-modal learning? What do we do in areas with no electricity and no internet? How would rural population fare in multi-modal?

What trainings of teachers should be accomplished for online and digital tools? When would they be trained? What orientation and training should be given to parents so they are equipped in assisting in the home learning of children?

What is the plan for small private schools which have been complementing the government’s task of providing education and could no longer cope up with the demands of maintaining their schools?

Two months have passed but to date, there is no clarity yet on how to move forward. It is only now that DepEd is conducting survey among teachers, students and parents. DepEd’s responses to queries are so vague and all the more left us groping in the dark.

With these uncertainties, we support the plan of Senate Committee on Basic Education proposal to amend the law declaring August 24 as the latest day allowed for a school year to open. But this move should be back up by clear cut targets and standards on when to declare ‘we are ready.’

At the minimum, it is crucial that the following be addressed asap:
1. Conduct mass testing for teachers.
2. Speed up the requisites for multi-modal learning (broadcast platforms like radio and television, internet among others).
3. Build the needed infrastructure – internet connections and electrification of all schools in remote provinces.
4. Provide teachers with required gadgets and equipment – laptops and computers, digital notebooks and tablets.
5. Conduct massive and intensive teachers’ training on online platforms, digital tools and other alternative modes.
6. Trim the curriculum to focus on the core subjects and core competencies.
7. Develop and enhance the alternative learning system (ALS) as venue for learning and mechanism for moving up to higher level.
8. Encourage cooperation and partnerships among schools and local government units especially in putting up educational infrastructures.
9. Clinch support and sponsorships from private corporations engaged in digital tools, internet providers, telecommunications and social media entities.
10. Provide realistic and accessible mechanisms to engage organizations of all stakeholders: teachers, students and parents in reshaping education.
11. Ease the economic burden of teachers so they can be effective partners in reshaping education: a) give social amelioration for teachers of private schools affected by no work-no pay policy and all teachers who have become the sole bread winners; b) provide hazard pay to teachers.
12. For budgetary requirements, appropriations for debt payments could be realigned in favor of education needs.

The pandemic forced DEpEd to usher in innovations that should have been made years before. Now, it should get its act together and step up to decisively address all the gaps and inequities.

In ‘new normal’ education, the challenge is still the same – provide ‘education for all’ and make sure that ‘no one is left behind.’

https://www.facebook.com/notes/assert/on-the-august-24-new-normal-school-opening-address-the-gaps-and-fulfill-basic-re/125075982527223/

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[From the web] Education in the New Normal: Address Inequities and Gaps to Insure Accessibility While Transitioning to Digital, Virtual Mode -ASSERT

Education in the New Normal: Address Inequities and Gaps to Insure Accessibility While Transitioning to Digital, Virtual Mode

We should have been alarmed when covid19 deaths in China, the country of origin of the virus, started to fill the news. But our government just took it for granted. It continues with the ‘business as usual’ attitude totally downplaying the potential damage it might bring.

WHO declared it as pandemic on March 11. The government declared Luzon lockdown on March 15. Then we started to witness how ill-prepared the government was to deal with the crisis. The only defined response was the lockdown and the passing of the law granting emergency powers to the President.

The people are helpless as they wait for the promised social amelioration that is delivered in trickles.

As we restlessly count days quarantined in our homes, we witness its continued exponential spread across the globe disrupting all facets of life. The global economy stopped. Festivities canceled. Religious practices disrupted. International sports events backtracked. Cultural activities put on hold.

Education is as gravely affected.

Disruptions and impact

The country-wide closures affected 1,578,657,884 learners accounting for 90.2% of total enrolled in 191 countries.

In the Philippines, basic public schools numbering 47,013 suspended classes disrupting the lives of 22,746,855 students. Examinations suspended. Rites that mark milestones in students’ learning journeys are canceled.

DepEd encouraged home-based learning using its Deped commons platform to catch up with lessons and compensate for lost school days. But this mode is highly dependent on the internet, computers, and tablets. Imagine how students would fare when 61% of 23 million households have no internet connections. Those with wifi suffer from the endless intermittent signals. Though 60.1% of the Philippine population is online, these are mostly mobile phone users.

To date, Philippine education is still in limbo. The only thing definite is that there is no going back.

The pandemic highlights class divides and inadequacies

For so long, Philippine education is in crisis. It is reflective of the situation of society in general. The litany of shortages, inefficiency, and corruption stunted its development. And are past curriculum changes and methods even relevant to the real demands of the times?

Covid19 exposed the skew in education.

Only the middle and upper strata have access to the internet, mobile phones, laptops, and computers. During the lockdown, they continue to have access to lessons. High-paying private schools easily shifted to online-based platforms and digital tools.
The rest wallow in deprivation. These are the students of urban and rural poor: children of peasants, indigenous peoples, workers, daily wage earners, and informal settlers. Quarantined with their parents and siblings and no school day to look forward to, they just idly and anxiously wait for food rations and relief. Accessing Deped commons is the least of their concerns.

The majority of those counted in 61% of the online population are mere cellphone users. Most belong to the 61% of 23 million households and 74% of the 47,013 schools with no internet access.

Teachers’ mindset and attitude towards technology and digital tools should also be addressed. The concept of ‘teachers’ as knowledge-source no longer holds true when a world of information is just a click away. Most public school teachers do not even have laptops and computers and whose access to the online world is mostly through Facebook. They are ‘digital migrants.’ Students are ‘digital natives.’ The virtual world is an extension of the learner’s life. Students are adept and fearless in exploring the online world. Teachers are just starting to understand it.

Multi-modal approach while transitioning to online and digital tools
On a positive note, the pandemic ushered in long-time needed innovations.
Clearly, virtual learning will be the dominant mode as we continue to battle with covid19. In fact, other Asian countries like China, Singapore, and Hongkong have long started with the use of online and digital tools.

Online platforms abound and have been here even before covid19. There is google classroom, zoom, FB live, and WhatsApp. There is also TED@Home which is so rich in learning resources. Students can even access DIY videos of almost anything. Learning could just be anywhere anytime.

Internet and communications technology have been revolutionizing education. Online and digital innovations are reshaping learning modes. Physical classroom set-up will soon be a thing of the past.

We are not prepared. But we have to adapt fast.

Addressing Inequities and Gaps is Crucial to Moving Forward

As the calendar for the next school year is yet to be decided, DepEd needs to step up. The government must support the financial requirements for a radically changed landscape of Philippine education.

In this light, we put forward the following:
1. Speed up the requisites for multi-modal learning (broadcast platforms like radio and television, internet among others).
2. Build the needed infrastructure – internet connections and electrification of all schools in remote provinces.
3. Provisions for gadgets and equipment – laptops and computers, digital notebooks, and tablets.
4. Onboard the teachers asap to the new mode. Conduct massive and intensive teachers’ training on online platforms and digital tools.
5. Ensure that curriculums are relevant. Review core subjects and core competencies.
6. Develop and enhance the alternative learning system (ALS) as a venue for learning and mechanism for moving up to a higher level.
7. Encourage cooperation and partnerships among schools and local government units especially in putting up educational infrastructures.
8. Explore support and sponsorships from private corporations engaged in digital tools, internet providers, telecommunications and social media entities.
9. Engage existing organizations of all stakeholders, especially teachers, students, and parents in reshaping education.
10. The new mode requires a bigger finance allocation. Appropriations for debt payments could be realigned in favor of education as a basic social service.

In the ‘new normal’ mode, changes are occurring in the same neoliberal paradigm
Internet, digital tools and online platforms are the same platforms for cultural aggression. The virtual mode is a fertile ground for decadent attitudes to flourish. It offers information overload rather than nurture critical thinking.

Thus, we should be vigilant against individualism, competition, commercialization, corruption, and consumerism. Let us continue to teach the skills the students need in surviving this world: informed decision making, creative problem solving, and adaptability.

The mode of learning will be changed but the orientation remains the same as we persistently challenged it.

It will still be serving neoliberal ideology. This is the same paradigm that makes education consistently subservient to foreign interests and capital demands. It is always profits and markets over people and rights. Concepts of sovereignty and nationalism will continue to be diffused.

Hence, as we transition to the ‘new normal,’ the progressive section of educators should make sure that the core values we cherish and fight for remain: human and women’s rights, genuine democracy, solidarity, rule of law, social justice, environmental justice, inclusion, and equity.

Let us continue to work for scientific, nationalist, and mass-oriented education. It is always in this context that education will be for the service of the people.###
ASSERT/26 April 2020

 

https://www.facebook.com/notes/assert/education-in-the-new-normal-address-inequities-and-gaps-to-insure-accessibility-/104435531257935/

 

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Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos, etc.