Election candidates urged to bare education platform
Parents, teachers, and education advocates on Wednesday urged for strengthened local and community-based interventions to help improve early grade learning (kindergarten to grade 3), amid the pandemic.
“Education is a community effort. Lahat dapat magtulungan (We need to help each other),” said Quintin Atienza, Education Governance Manager of the ABC+: Advancing Basic Education in the Philippines (ABC+ Project), an initiative of the Department of Education (DepEd) supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and RTI International.
“Education, especially early grade education, is not the responsibility of the education sector or DepEd alone. Everyone, from the local government units (LGUs) to the private sector, has an important role in helping teachers and parents improve early grade learning,” Atienza also said during a webinar with education stakeholders.
Because of the pandemic, regular face-to-face classes have been suspended and shifted online for almost two years now. “Distance learning poses a challenge to improving early grade education,” shared Eden Capapas, a grade 2 teacher from Roxas City. “Interaction between students and their teacher, an important process for literacy, numeracy, and socio-emotional learning, is strained in an online set-up,” she said.
“In an online set-up for children in the early grades, parents are stepping into a bigger role for their children. We are essentially secondary teachers,” said Emilyn Luceña, a parent-leader from Iriga City, in Filipino. “Because of this, our capacities and skills are also being put to the test,” she added.
Local problems with local solutions
“These are local problems that can have local solutions. Community-based programs targeting parents, teachers, and learners have to complement national government efforts,” urged John Patrick Sedantes, Executive Director of CHILDInitiative, a partner of ABC+ Project in Western Visayas.
“Assistance from the LGU, private sector, and community leaders can build parents’ capacity on the use of gadgets and other learning materials so that we can better help our children in their online classes,” he said. “Donations from the private sector and earmarked funds from the LGU can go to supplementary learning materials, gadgets, internet devices, and learning hubs, among others,” he also said.
Education platform for early grade learning urged
Candidates for the upcoming local and national elections should also commit to improve early grade education in the country and bare their education platform and learning recovery plan, urged Roy Layosa of the Coalition for Bicol Development, a partner of ABC+ Project in Region V.
“Education is an election issue. Candidates who wish to be our new set of leaders should present their education platform, including a learning recovery plan from the two years of online classes, especially now that Filipino children are being vaccinated and DepEd is piloting limited face-to-face classes,” Layosa said. “What is the post-quarantine set-up for Filipino early grade learners and how do we ensure that no Filipino child is left behind?” he asked.
US gov’t congratulates DepEd
The United States (US) government, through USAID, also extended its congratulations to DepEd during the webinar. “We would like to congratulate DepEd for the successful implementation of the limited face-to-face classes,” said Yvette Malcioln, Acting Director of Education of USAID in the Philippines.
“[C]ommunities were able to mobilize ways to make sure that modules and learning materials reach children and that they continue learning – a testament to the Filipino spirit of bayanihan,” she added. “The U.S. government, through USAID, is a proud partner of the Philippine government in improving the education of children,” she concluded