Internet woes plague first day of public school classes

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 06 2020 08:31 AM | Updated as of Oct 06 2020 10:34 AM

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MANILA (UPDATE) - Eden Enoch, a grade 7 teacher in Manila, was unable to introduce herself to some of her students on the first day of school due to poor internet connection on Monday.

Over 22 million public school students on Monday resumed their studies through different modes of distance learning such as printed and digital modules, online classes, and lessons delivered through television and radio.

"It just so happened yesterday po, siguro marahil sa pagkasabay-sabay ng paggamit ng internet ay nagkaroon po ng problema sa connection. Pero bilang isang guro ang challenge po ay lagi po nating kinakaharap pagdating sa pagtuturo," Enoch told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(It just so happened yesterday po, maybe due to the simultaneous use of internet connection, problems occurred. But as teachers, we always face challenges in teaching.)

"Hindi po tayo d'yan susuko, iiwas dahil 'yan ang pangunahing misyon natin bilang guro."

(We will not give in and avoid challenges because that's our primary mission as teachers.)

Enoch, who handles 10 sections with 45 students each this school year, also observed that some of her students were unable to enter her Google classrooms.

"Hindi po kumpleto 'yung bilang ng mga bata na nakapasok marahil po ang bata ay may kakulangan sa gadget," she said, noting that 1 gadget per household was given by the local government.

(The number of students that were present was not complete maybe due to the lack of gadgets.)

"Marahil isa pa pong suliranin ay hindi naman po lahat ay may internet connection."

(Another problem could be not everyone has internet connection.)

Enoch said she uses a prepaid wifi and spends P200 per week for internet load.

The local government gives teachers load allowance that is supposed to be good for 8 hours of classes but this falls short when they need to download video clips and photos for their lessons, Enoch said.

"Dapat masuportahan ang mga pangangailangan ng mga guro."

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The Department of Education should make a clear policy on internet load allowance for teachers, said Raymond Basilio, secretary-general of Alliance of Concerned Teachers.

"Kaya po natin sinusulong na magkaroon ng internet load allowance ang ating teachers upang maoffset itong nadagdag sa kanilang pang araw-araw na gastusin," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(That's why we call for internet load allowance for our teachers so it can offset their additional daily costs.)

"'Di lahat ng eskuwelahan may malalaking allocation. Paano po iyong maliliit na eskuwelahan na walang pondo? Kailangan magkaroon ng malinaw na polisiya na ilabas ang Department of Education."

(Not every school has big allocations. What about small schools without funds? The DepEd needs to release a clear policy on this.)

The Teachers Dignity Coalition also seeks some P1,000 to P2,000 internet monthly allowance for educators, its national chairperson Benjie Basas said as he cited an ABS-CBN News report on a teacher in Manila struggle with her internet connection.

"Sa report ni Ms. Chiara (Zambrano) Maynila po ito, hindi po ito far-flung area. The center of the Philippines and yet mahina ang signal, and yet nag-aagawan ang mga tao sa signal, sa bandwidth," he told ANC's Headstart.

(The report of Ms. Chiara was in Manila, not in a far-flung area. It was the center of the Philippines and yet internet signal is weak, people are competing for signal and bandwidith.)

"Ang dami po nitong kasunod na bagay, baka di ma-contact ang mga magulang dahil di sila nakaconnect sa Facebook Messenger... Yung continuity ng instruction medyo magkakaroon po ng question kahit sabihin natin modular ang system."

(This results into many things, the teachers may not be able to contact parents because they are not connected in Facebook Messenger...The continuity of instruction may be put into question even if the system is modular.)

The group also sought the use of textbooks versus printed learning materials which are utilized by students who do not have gadgets.

The DepEd said Monday the opening of classes in public schools was a success, with no major difficulties experienced.