CHR, teachers' group support face-to-face classes in all schools

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 31 2022 12:43 PM | Updated as of May 31 2022 01:42 PM

Students observe safety protocol inside the Ricardo P Cruz St. Elementary School in Taguig City, during the first day of the pilot face-to-face classes in the National Capital Region on December 06, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File
Students observe safety protocol inside the Ricardo P Cruz St. Elementary School in Taguig City, during the first day of the pilot face-to-face classes in the National Capital Region on December 06, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and a group of teachers have expressed support for the Department of Education's plans to resume in-person classes in all schools by next school year.

CHR Executive Director Jacqueline Ann de Guia said Tuesday the move highlighted the importance of the right to education.

"Ensuring every Filipino child's right to education grants them an opportunity to better their lives. It also bridges economic and social gaps – such as productivity, gender inequality, healthcare accessibility, and other issues – that hamper our nation-building," she said in a statement.

De Guia said she hoped those participating in in-person classes would continue to strictly adhere to COVID-19 health protocols.

Meanwhile, Teachers' Dignity Coalition (TDC) Chairperson Benjo Basas reminded the DepEd to address the needs of educators as it pushed for more schools to reopen.

"Nais naming paalalahanan ang pamunuan ng kagawaran na marami pang mga kakulangan ang dapat na tutukan hindi lamang sa mga pisikal na pangangailangan sa classroom kundi maging sa mga suportang kakailanganin ng ating mga guro," Basas said.

(We want to remind the department's leadership that many inadequacies need to be addressed, not only the physical needs of the classroom but also the support needed by our teachers.)

Basas added that his group was open to working with the DepEd to ensure a successful return to in-person classes in the next school year, tentatively scheduled to start in August.

The Kabataan Party-list earlier urged officials to ensure sufficient funding to fully implement face-to-face classes in all schools.

Based on the youth group's computation, the government needs to allot at least P184 billion for a "safe and inclusive" reopening of schools.

On Monday, Secretary Leonor Briones said the DepEd expects all schools to hold in-person classes next school year.

But education officials clarified that classroom sessions would take place alongside distance learning modalities.

A recent report from the United Nations Children's Fund found that the Philippines had the longest pandemic school closure among 122 countries, at 70 weeks.

The prolonged school closure had education advocates worried of learning losses, citing studies that say remote learning was not as effective as the traditional classroom setup.

The government banned in-person classes in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and allowed gradual resumption only in late 2021.

— With reports from Adrian Ayalin and Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News