Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones on Tuesday claimed that there are psychosocial effects for learners for their long stay at home due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Briones, in an interview with the Daily Tribune’s online forum, “Straight Talk”, noted that prolonged confinement at home has an ‘impact’ on children’s home life.
Physical meetings were suspended and online classes were introduced since the government imposed a strict lockdown and limited foot movement outside of home since March last year.
“Of course, there will be psychosocial problems in schools but there are also psychosocial problems while a child has prolonged stay at home because the parents have always to see them. And now some information is coming out on quite a series of psychosocial problems for children to stay at home,” the Education chief said.
Briones said that many students still prefer to have face-to-face classes over distance learning modality.
“That is why I’m not surprised when I get information from children that they would want to be taught by teachers,” she said.
Briones also said that there are a lot of distractions for children for staying at home.
“Because at home the parents have to take over, to supervise, and the parents are supervising their home, the economics for staying alive, and the chores — and many distractions,” she said.
“I have read the responses of the students to home teaching and they recognize and admit these difficulties,” she explained.
Briones said her agency has conducted a survey involving more than a million respondents showing students as strong supporters of face-to-face learning.
With the rollout of the government’s national vaccination program, the education secretary expressed optimism that it will lead to the implementation of the pilot testing of face-to-face classes.
She said they have already chosen over a thousand schools in various parts of the country which are located in areas with minimal to zero cases of Covid-19.
Its implementation, Briones added, should be a shared effort of DepEd, local government units (LGU), and the students’ families.
“When we proposed a pilot study we already made an initial identification on what schools in regions can be used for it. Out of 61,000 schools, we identified more than 1900,” she said.
“The condition is the LGU should give green light first. There will be no classes if they will not agree,” she added.
On the part of the government, Briones said schools should have facilities fit for the so-called “new normal” which will include ample space for social distancing, adequate supply of safe water and medicines as well as the establishment of a nearby health facility. The old system where 70 to 80 students share one class is also no longer allowed.
The Senate has given its nod to the DepEd’s proposal earlier after lawmakers filed Resolution 998 urging the immediate implementation of the pilot testing as part of the preparation of the national rollout.
Senators Sherwin Gatchalian, Nancy Binay, Francis Pangilinan, Grace Poe, Pia Cayetano, Joel Villanueva and Sonny Angara said the pilot testing will enable the DepEd to “gather evidence on the ground and design its framework for the safe reopening of schools.”
The Philippines remains the only Southeast Asian nation that has yet to reopen schools since its closure on March 2020.