Private schools brace for 'new normal': Online classes, physical attendance for exams

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 20 2020 08:18 PM | Updated as of Apr 21 2020 01:31 AM

MANILA - Private schools are ready to hold online classes for the next school year as the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, a group of administrators said Monday.

"Ang importante sa paghahanda, since this is a new normal, kailangan may connectivity, kailangan trained ang teachers, kinakailangan may gadgets ang mga bata and meron kang modules. We have all these," said Federation of Associations of Private Schools Administrators (FAPSA) president Eleazardo Kasilag.

Regular classes may be conducted at home with a supervising parent of family member, he said. Physical classes, meanwhile, can be held on school grounds only when the subjects require it or during exams.

"Papasok lang sa mga subjects na kinakailangan ng thorough discussion, you would need laboratory, experiments in science... pero 'yong subjects na English, Filipino, Values, puwede sa bahay," Kasilag added.

Kasilag proposed modules to be formulated using cellphones since many private school students have such gadgets.

Students in pre-school and from Grades 1 to 3 should be strictly guided by family members in using gadgets, said Kasilag.

"'Di pa kasi exposed ang mga bata sa gadgets. While it is true na madali silang turuan, kailangan nila ng guidelines," he said.

Kasilag also appealed to the government for assistance, especially for teaching and non-teaching personnel.

Teachers from private schools could not avail the financial assistance provided by the Department of Labor and Employment and do not qualify for the social amelioration packages of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, according to Kasilag.

"Nawala ang finals, ang 4th quarter exams. May mga collectibles pa kami sa last school year. Eh ano na ang mangyayari sa amin yan?" he said.

"'Yong mga parents, 'di naman nating inaasahang mage-enroll agad kasi wala naman silang trabaho," he added.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS NOT READY

A group of teachers, meanwhile, expressed concern over online modes of learning for the next school year, especially for public schools.

Public schools have been technologically challenged even before the pandemic, according to Alliance of Concerned Teachers Secretary General Raymond Basilio.

"Walang sapat na gamit na computers, television sets. At ang mas malaking problema, ay walang internet connection ang mga schools natin," he said.

"Dapat tiyakin ng DepEd (Department of Education) na ang kanyang infrastructure ay sapat at kayang tugunan ang pangangailangan ng more than 23 million students," he added.

Instead of online teaching, Basilio suggested that the DepEd should instead decrease class sizes and maintain social distancing in schools.

The DepEd can also strengthen its "community-based education," which is already part of its alternative learning system," he said.

-- Report from Jasmin Romero and Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News