EDITORIAL | No learner left behind

Photo via DepEd

This early, the pitfalls and problems of education during the global health emergency in the Philippines are starting to get exposed.

For those whose schools have already reopened and have opted to require students to use online learning platforms, the most pressing problem is not only acquiring the device to access the platforms, but also raising the money to access the Internet.

In the more remote areas, students have to walk several kilometers to a spot where there is at least some mobile data signal.

In some parts of the Bicol region, many students are seen in huddles in these spots, which some have dubbed “signalan.” 

This may be defeating the purpose of putting off face-to-face classroom interactions, as many of these kids are without face masks, let practice alone social distancing.

Meanwhile, because the reception is often hardly strong enough or consistent enough to access the byte-heavy platforms, it makes one wonder whether the expected learning outcomes could have any hope of being attained.

It also makes one think about whether after the excitement over the novelty of e-learning wanes, and difficulties such as long walks to these signal spots or even heavy rain start to set in, they will still put in the laborious effort.

Learning experts have repeatedly argued that there is greater risk in postponing education until a vaccine or cure is discovered, and indeed, the tireless effort of the education community, especially of the teachers who are in the front lines, are definitely admirable.

On the other hand, we cannot simply close our eyes to these realities, especially as we profess an educational system where no learner is left behind.