THE REAL STATE OF THE NATION: Philippine Education System

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August 24 marks the beginning of classes for DepEd but not for the almost ~7.7 million un-enrolled students under the Basic Education curriculum who cannot continue with the form of education that the department is currently imposing. ~54 Million students are not able to meet the required requisites such as load or Internet connection and laptop or PC.

HEIs and SUCs students will also experience almost the same fate as that of students on the lower year-level as enrollment rate plunged to a record-breaking 70% for the same Academic Year. With 400 Private schools to close down due to low enrollment rates, 400, 757 teachers and non-teaching personnel in private educational institutions currently affected by the COVID-19 pandemic students and educators are reclined against the wall as ways on continuing their education and livelihood is at the hands of policy-makers who fail to see their on-ground plights.

Recently, the youth, parents, teachers successfully protested in front of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and DepEd National Office and NCR Office to condemn the recent recommendation of Sec. Lenor Briones to President Duterte marking August 24 as the first day of classes for their School Year 2020 -2021 regardless of the readiness of learners and educators with Briones even citing “whatever form it is” — disregarding the mountain of problems many Filipino households faced during the entirety of the militarized lockdown imposed by the Duterte administration early March of this year and up until now with no to little socioeconomic aid, massive job displacement, and lack of mass testing and other health-based measures against the pandemic.

The Philippine education system has long been tied to the education models of most of the imperialist countries — deeming our education system and our institutions as diploma mills and job-generating factories that will serve foreign capitalist interests. The COVID-19 pandemic have enabled Duterte and capitalist-educators to capitalize on the pandemic to maintain parents and family-providers to be milking cows for the survival of their already fat pockets overflowing of super-profits accumulated over the years.

The raging pandemic has only worsened the current struggles of parents and the youth — be it blended or distance learning, or, as what Sec. Briones has heartlessly mentioned “whatever form it is” that the government is shoving down the throats of learners and educators will only prove to be difficult for Filipinos, coupled that with massive lay-offs and the rise in unemployment, the frustrated masses are now scrambling to find ways to sustain their children’s education despite the many anti-student and anti-people policies that the government has thrown on their way.

This is why the campaign for mass testing for the safe return of students to schools is what the administration should concentrate all their resources on. Had the Duterte administration already began to systematically test the masses for COVID-19, had the government acted swift and prioritized the health of the people without militarized lockdowns being imposed upon the populace, had they listened to science-based facts and medically-supported evidence, the safe opening of classes would not be an issue by now.###


Data sources:
Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA).
Department of Education
One News PH
Commission on Higher Education

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