MANILA - The full resumption of face-to-face classes could push the economy to reach its full potential, outgoing Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority Director-General Karl Chua said Tuesday.
He said the better-than-expected 8.3 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the first quarter could have been higher if more face-to-face classes had been implemented.
At least 50 percent of the population is below 24 years old and 40 percent are below 21 years old, he said, and keeping them at home means restricting economic activity while also decreasing the learning efficiency.
"In other words, 40 percent of the economy, or the population are in school, and that is a big driver of economic activity. If you keep them at home, even if they are learning at home, it does not give them the best learning experience,"
"In the US it is only half as good yung online learning. If there is no physical learning, then all the establishments around the school, the dorms, the cafeteria, lahat sila walang activity. That is why our economic growth is not yet reaching its original potential. So marami talagang benefits," Chua said.
The implementation of education rules will rest on the incoming Department of Education Secretary, Chua said.
Presumptive president Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr earlier announced he chose vice presidential frontrunner Sara Duterte to head the Deped.
The pilot face-to-face classes have so far been a "huge success," Chua said, adding that it could be replicated.
Chua also said the lowering of mobility restrictions would boost economic activities. Currently, about 20 percent of the country is still under Alert Level 2 due to low vaccination levels.
Chua earlier said he has spoken with the incoming Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, who was picked by Marcos Jr.
- with a report from Warren De Guzman, ABS-CBN News