For as long as there is no stable internet connection for the students in time for the school year 2021-2022, education is bound to suffer, former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos said Sunday.
He underscored the need for the government to seriously consider internet infrastructures under its Build-Build-Build program.
In a statement, Marcos said there is an urgency to take radical measures if only to ensure that half a million students who have enrolled for the upcoming school year would not suffer the same predicament it had during the previous school calendar.
Marcos also expressed concern over the results of the most recent Philippine Distance Learning survey, which hinted at a general consensus among parents, teachers and students who have had difficulties in adapting to the blended learning system embarking on online classes because of intermittent, if not totally unstable internet connection in their areas.
The survey showed that 67% of the parents, 84% of the teachers and 71% of the students deploring the poor state of interconnectivity, for which the quality of education was compromised.
“Internet connection is as essential as our roads and bridges, which the government deems as crucial for the economy to move forward as we continue to get past the pandemic. Having said that, I find it just and proper for the government to look into this concern because what’s at stake here is the future of the next generation of leaders,” Marcos said.
He also cited the need to look after the mental state of the students who are into the blended learning system, citing the difficulties and stress borne out of what is a rather peculiar set up that the Philippine education system never had before.
“I feel sad over the predicament that our students – from pre-school to high school – and teachers are into. There’s no number of words that can describe how bad they feel with what’s been going on because of the pandemic,” added Marcos.
As such, the former senator called on President Rodrigo Duterte to consider limited face-to-face classes in areas with low COVID-19 infections, adding that such a move would somehow alleviate the psychological stress that both students and teachers alike are suffering.
He also called on the Department of Education to formulate a long-term solution that would address inadequacy in the learning tools and school supplies for students – particularly those who can hardly afford to buy what is required under the distance learning mode of education.
As this developed, Marcos issued an appeal for broader healthcare capacity. The former senator particularly referred to the hospitals which recent reports claimed as already overwhelmed by patients infected with the coronavirus disease.
During the National Press Club’s online forum, Marcos asked the government to look back at the formula that was used by his late father and former strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr., in addressing health concerns.
“What my dad did during his time was to build more hospitals. Not just ordinary hospitals but tertiary and specialty hospitals like the Philippine Health Center, the National Kidney Institute, among many others which were ordered halted by the President who took his place in 1986,” added Marcos.
He is also pushing for an additional budget for the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, a healthcare institution, which could have made a difference during the pandemic had it been allowed to work with ample support from the national government.