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Teachers’ group outlines urgent measures for “safe, accessible, and quality education”

Photo: Facebook/Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Philippines

Following the announcement of the move of the opening of classes to October 5, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) called on the Department of Education (DepEd) for changes to deliver “safe, accessible, and quality education” amid the coronavirus disease or COVID-19 pandemic.

ACT Secretary-General Raymond Basilio urged DepEd and the government to use the time to solve many problems surrounding the opening of classes, in a way that would not only safeguard educators’ and students’ health but also fulfill learners’ right to education.

In a Facebook post, the teachers’ group recommended the following urgent measures for the education bureau, such as the sufficient allocation of government funding for learning continuity, ensuring the implementation of health and safety protocols in schools such as health screening and testing of workers, medical personnel in school clinics, sick leaves and hazard pay for teachers, the discontinuation of the use of schools as quarantine facilities, equipping teachers and students with gadgets and Internet connectivity financial support, adequate distribution of printed modules for learners, relaxation of strict assessment tools, and the inclusion of the pandemic as a topic in the educational program.

Pursuant to Republic Act (RA) No. 11480, which gives the President the power to move the date of the opening of classes in the Philippines or in areas during a state of calamity, an amendment was made to Republic Act (RA) No. 7797, which states that classes must open as early as the first Monday of June but no later than the last day of August. Teachers’ groups and several lawmakers have been calling for the education bureau to delay the opening of the school year amid reports of educators not being prepared and being ill-equipped to transition to a blended learning approach.

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