Rep. Alfred Vargas of Quezon City on Friday welcomed the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to move the opening of classes from August 24 to October 5, upon the recommendation of the Department of Education.
Vargas said the two-month postponement of classes will give DepEd, teachers and students ample time to prepare for a more efficient implementation of blended learning.
“The deferment of school opening will benefit all education stakeholders as DepEd will be able to detect and address problems
related to blended learning in the run up to October 5. This will result in a more efficient implementation of the ‘new normal’ in education,” the lawmaker said.
Vargas, a member of the House committee on basic education and culture, had suggested postponing the opening of classes amid concerns from teachers that they’re still unprepared for the new school year.
He also suggested holding pilot tests of various blended learning methods in select schools nationwide before classes start.
Vargas said DepEd will also be able to save funds in the long run since it can allocate resources more efficiently based on the results of dry runs conducted by schools.
"We expect DepEd to use the next two months to finetune the implementation of its blended learning program," he said. With deliberations on the proposed P4.5-trillion national budget for 2021 set to start this month, Vargas, a vice chairman of the House appropriations committee, said he will ensure DepEd will have adequate funds for education in the “new normal.”
For her part, Rep. Sarah Elago of Kabataan said the school opening adjustment to October 5 was a proof of government's confession of unpreparedness and incompetence in pandemic response.
"After so much publicity from the Department of Education that they are prepared for the August 24 opening of classes, the truth has finally come to light. Amid the actual reports of school opening woes, the DepEd finally recognized that the Philippines is far from prepared for the school opening this month," said Elago, member of the Makabayan Bloc.
She said the adjustment of the school opening from August 24 to October 5 "is the Duterte administration's confession that we are grossly unprepared to start a new academic year. This is also a testament to how the government is performing their duty in handling the COVID-19 pandemic."