JulieYapDaza 300x300 - Victim #1 
Jullie Y. Daza

So it has happened. The “blended learning” system has claimed its first victim. Not of floods and landslides, not a dog or snake, not a hit-and-run or holdup. He was just doing his job – though clearly above and beyond the call of duty – delivering modules to his students when he was shot.

Teacher Eli Apacible of Surigao del Sur was hit in the head, he said, before he realized his ear and nose had been grazed by a bullet. Was the shot fired by some trigger-happy marksman? More likely by someone who’s against education, with no love for children who are being groomed for the future by their teachers.

As teacher groups warned months before DepEd made the switch to modular and online teaching, who’s responsible when teachers encounter wild animals or meet an accident in the course of their delivery/pickup services? Are teachers insured, do they receive hazard pay?

With more birth pangs of the abnormal new continuing to rile our public school system, is anyone in DepEd preparing for the next schoolyear? In case they’ve forgotten to look at the calendar, we’ve used up two months of the current schoolyear which should’ve started in August 2020. The next schoolyear starts August 2021, a quicksilver 10 months away. Considering the unusual circumstances under which our schools are forced to operate — going into the deep end is not an option – DepEd would be smart to follow the example of private institutions that are well into 2021 mode; they won’t  be caught running a race with their khaki pants down.

Compare the relatively smooth opening of private schools (basic education) last August with the chaos and mistakes that marred the public-school opening in October. True, private schools have more funds and fewer enrollees, but if DepEd had bothered to observe how those teachers were trained to handle online classes as early as May-June when the first quarantine season went into effect, the picture would’ve been very different. Not the public school teachers’ fault, but their best intentions were no match for the lack of time, materials, logistics, strategies. Next schoolyear is here, DepEd! See what the private schools are up to, learn from them, spy on them. There’s more to education than wearing out teachers.

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