Citing severe damage and massive displacement from recent typhoons that hit the country, a federation of teachers on Thursday called on education agencies to “redirect education” to help families cope and respond to the disaster situation.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines urged the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) to address the concerns of millions of students from basic education to tertiary level that were affected by calamities.
“The recent calamities compounded by a criminally neglectful government cost our people lives, properties, rights, and dignity,” said ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.
Basilio said that “such injustice” should compel DepEd and CHEd to do their part to help people not only to recover but stand taller in the aftermaths of disaster. “This will entail urgent provision of needed assistance and resources, and bold adjustments to the content and conduct of education,” he said.
ACT is pressing the leadership of DepEd and CHEd to “think and act beyond the rigid academic framework of traditional education” by pursuing relevant learning amid calamities. This, the group said, can be done through alternative contents, modes, and conduct of education that “respond to the needs of disaster-stricken Filipinos.”
To help the students who are overwhelmed under the distance learning setup, DepEd has recommended “academic ease” measures early on. However, Basilio said that this “is not enough to make education serve the needs of the people.”
Basilio alleged that the DepEd’s academic ease which is largely unimplemented still works within the framework of the K-to-12 competencies through the most essential learning competencies (MELCs).
“For education to be relevant to the lives of our people during this trying time, the education system should serve as a wide-reaching, established network that helps victims rise above the situation, encourage people to help the victims, and educate the whole country about the current situation, disaster preparedness, and environmental protection, among other urgent and relevant issues,” Basilio said.
ACT said that the DepEd and CHEd should start with “rethinking” the role and objectives of education in a crisis situation and steer the whole education system towards this direction.
“They should suspend the implementation of unrealistic curricula and competencies, cancel traditional academic requirements, and do away with rigid class schedules and evaluation systems,” Basilio said.