A Philippines student group is warning that the country is about to experience one of the largest school dropouts in history. It also noted enrollment data, which showed that only about 10 million students had applied for the next academic year out of 27 million students.
The Philippines school reopenings will be a 100 percent virtual, according to a government directive. President Duterte recently announced that his government was not considering reopening face to face mode of learning until a vaccine or treatment of coronavirus is discovered, citing the safety of students for his decision.
School dropout anticipation
The registration for the next academic year is already underway for both primary and secondary school students. With an expected 27million registration, the online registration has only managed to register about 10 million students in 3 weeks out of 4. The small number of students registering to continue with their education virtually has become a major concern for Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (Spark), who are anticipating a major school dropout across the country due to the spread of the virus, and migration to online learning.
Just recently, teachers in Davao de Oro took to the street to protest poor internet connection that was hindering them from delivering classes to their students. Photos taken from the protest became viral in the Philippines, and doubts started on how well the country was prepared to handle online learning.
Major concerns about school enrollments
Spark was not the only group concerned about the significant number of students that were getting enrolled, resulting to fears of school dropouts across the country, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) also expressed their concern over the number. In a research conducted by the group, they indicated that the 33 percent school dropout anticipated, may only be a start, and that more students would continue dropping out as the crisis deepens.
The Spark also criticized President Duterte’s suggestion that his government would be buying transistor radios as a way of bridging the digital gap in the country. The group called the project a pathetic gesture, indicating that it will not help in mitigating the significant number of school dropouts anticipated in the country.
The group noted that the current school dropouts were just the tip of the iceberg, and as time passes, more problems ingrained in the country’s education system would start to become clear. They noted the difficulty of readjustment to online learning as a result of a lack of resources to access learning materials and a lack of knowledge, especially for students in lower primary school grades.
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