A youth group in the Philippines urges DepEd and CHED to impose an academic freeze on all grade levels, up until a mass testing program has been done.
Academic freeze on all school levels
The Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (Spark), an activist youth group in the Philippines is calling out the heads of the Department of Education (Elementary and Secondary levels) and the Commission on Higher Educations (Tertiary level) to impose an academic freeze on the Philippines Education as long as no mass testing has been conducted.
According to the group, the proposed distance learning inside the blended learning program by the Department of Education is anti-poor and not accessible for all. The group is using the low enrollment turnout as leverage unto their claim.
From the expected 27 million enrollees, the DepEd only managed to tally almost 16 million students enrolling for S.Y. 2020-2021. Though with the low turnout number, DepEd was not fazed, which expects an increasing number of enrollees as they proceed to the next phase of enrolling students.
It is understandable that the low turnout rate is contributed to the lack of access to the internet and reliable contact information of the students. The first phase of enrollment was conducted remotely via social media, phone calls, and online bookings.
Low turnout of enrollees
Spark believes that the low turnout of enrollees is not attributed to the lack of access to the remote process of enrollment, but, rather a case of lack of interest on the parent’s side to enroll their children.
An academic freeze is needed to maintain the equality among students’ progress.
The group believes that halting all school operations is much better than imposing low-quality education with limited accessibility to students.
COVID-19 cases in the Philippines are starting to rise again and expected to rise as lockdown protocols start to ease in different areas of the country.