The coronavirus pandemic truly changed a lot of things around the world. What we used to consider unusual is now an ordinary event. The days are gone when only those in the medical field or those who feel sick wear a mask. Social distancing was never a thing but now it has become a habit.
We also currently live at a time where even young ones have to adjust in their way of learning. This is the current dilemma in the Philippines and most of the world. Most schools were about to end in March when strict lockdowns were imposed because of Covid-19. As the health crisis intensified, the usual opening of classes in June was postponed to August.
However, the opening of classes in public schools was yet again postponed to October 5. Safety is clearly the priority. But, what changes were made in order to adapt?
The education department of the Philippine government-mandated three types of learning methods for this school year:
All of these refer to a learning delivery modality where learning takes place between the teachers and learners who are geographically remote from each other during instruction. These were specifically suggested because of the different situations of each student in various places across the Philippines.
While the highly urbanized cities may have available connections to the internet for Online Distance Learning, some families may not be able to afford a gadget that will enable their children to do so. Those in the far-flung areas of the country even struggle with both - internet connection and gadget to use. Modular Distance Learning and TV/Radio-Based Instruction may bridge the gap but will entail even more work for the teachers as they have to print out the modules and make sure that their students receive it on a weekly basis while those assigned to produce materials for TV/Radio-Based Instruction will have to go out of their comfort zone as well since they are not used to these kinds of production.
For most, Online Distance Learning means creating a ton of presentations and activities behind the screens of their laptop for daily online classes while even struggling with the slow internet connection of the country. When you think about how stressful teaching in a traditional classroom can be, what more on these new methods they have to both learn and execute at the same time?
To add to that, one may think that teachers in the Philippines are well compensated so it equates to all the hard work that they do. But sadly, a 2019 report stated that “the salary could hardly cover the rising cost of basic needs and expenses.” This statement refers to basic education and high school teachers since instructors in higher educational institutions may be paid higher depending on the school.