MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte vowed Monday to deliver "quality and accessible education" to Filipino students as face-to-face classes remain banned during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Despite our inability to conduct face-to-face classes during the pandemic, we remain determined to deliver quality and accessible education to all," Duterte said in his final State of the Nation Address (SONA).
In his speech, Duterte mentioned the creation of the basic education learning continuity plan, which allowed for the implementation of distance learning as an alternative to in-person classes.
The learning plan, Duterte said, "enabled uninterrupted learning to students in the basic [education] sector while ensuring teachers' health, safety and well-being."
Various groups, however, have given the education department a failing mark in its implementation of distance learning, under which students learned from their homes through printed and digital modules, online classes, television, and radio.
The Teachers' Dignity Coalition had even warned that teachers are still exposed to the threat of COVID-19 in carrying out their tasks, such as delivering modules, because alternative work arrangements are not strictly followed.
In March, the Department of Education (DepEd) reported that it recorded 4,468 COVID-19 infections among its learners and personnel.
Duterte still refuses to allow in-person classes but the DepEd assured it was more prepared for distance learning in the next school year, scheduled to start on Sept. 13.
In his SONA, Duterte also thanked Congress for passing the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, which provides free education to students in state universities.
FROM THE ARCHIVES