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Editorial | Back to school woes

How do we ease into going back to school with the spectre of the pandemic still hanging like the sword of Damocles over our heads? COVID-19 may not discriminate as to who it will infect, but those who are already in the margins are bearing the brunt of its impact, health-wise, economically and in all aspects of life.

May usually is the month when civil society helps in preparing for the opening of classes in June. Corporations and civic organizations share in the responsibility by sponsoring public elementary schools they can spiff up, providing new tables and chairs to help make the school a conducive place for learning. An inclusive quality education is a shared vision in the community as we prepare for more competitive years ahead with globalization. Ensuring that our children get the proper education they need to steer this country forward when it is their time to do so, is at the core of this endeavor.

Here lies the rub. When are we going to open our classes with the continued increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country? Many are talking about a shift in paradigm, a different way of doing things when we emerge from this health crisis. Already, universities are thinking of a blended curriculum wherein students will have both an online and in-campus learning system. This may not be applicable to all institutions of higher education as many students would not be able to afford a computer or have access to the internet. Again, we are looking at a huge chasm between the haves and have-nots.

Are we prepared to shift to home study learning? The teachers, especially in basic education, need re-tooling in creating these modules which we know for certain cannot be done within months. How they can prepare for this and do it on a massive scale, is mind blowing. True, home-school is gaining popularity, but for a teacher doing this with at least 50 children in a class, is hard to imagine.

The virus is changing the way we view the world. For now, what we can do while we wait for official announcements from the DepEd and CHED, is to stay at home, practice social distancing and wash our hands with soap and water.

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