The world is now living in uncertainties and ambiguities as it faces the most challenging situation after the post World War II era. For more than half a year, the people all over the globe are once again battling a war. But what is bothering and frightening is that no one sees the enemies because this battle is being waged by a deadly virus called Covid 19.
Covid 19 has really changed the lives of humans in more than countries in the world. Living with threats in their health and lives, the people have to adjust to overcome the worries and continue to live a normal life despite the troubles brought by the fatal disease.
Long before the emergence of Covid 19, the Philippine government had been working hard and exerting a lot of efforts to deliver quality education the young citizens deserve. The government had invested a lot to provide all the needs in the educational system such as hiring of teachers, constructing of school buildings and other facilities and providing of books and other materials and equipment to meet the goals of uplifting the quality of education in the country.
But the focus and concentration of the government is now impeded by the hassles created by Covid. In mid-March, the Department of Education had to stop the schooling of 27 million learners in the basic education because the department did not want to risk their lives. Due to alarming increase of Covid cases, the state also decided to postpone the opening of the classes.
Adding to the challenges faced by the DepEd are the worries of many parents who are afraid to continue the schooling of their children. As of the moment, there were only more than 23 million learners enrolled for this school year. According to DepEd, there is -7% discrepancy between the number of enrolled learners last year (2019-2020) and the enrollment of (2020-2021). The figure will reflect that almost four (4) million parents are afraid to send their children to school even if they are already given the assurance from the government that there will be no face-to-face classes until the vaccine is available.
Despite of difficulties and complexities, the DepEd has remained focused in its mandate to educate the young citizens. The DepEd has prepared four alternative modes in order to deliver education to the homes of the 23 million learners. The modules in all subject areas in all grade levels including the Kindergarten are prepared for deliveries. The department has continued instructing all the schools across the country to identify all the learners who can afford using online classes through regular communication with parents. The deal between the government and some television and radio stations are done. In fact, the DepEd already gave the schedules of programs and the respective channels that will air the significant programs that are of great help in imparting basic knowledge, skills and competence our learners need to gain. The schools can also opt combining the above mentioned modes to better delivery learning.
Maybe some will criticize the DepEd in pursuing the schooling for this school year. These critics may be right in saying that we are not yet ready to educate our next generation. But everybody must understand that the DepEd is not only fulfilling its mandate vested upon them by the Constitution. The department is also now inspiring the nation and its people to unite to meet a very important purpose despite uncertainties. This purpose is to be a one big FORCE willing to build a better Philippines by pursuing education these young people need.
We Filipinos have proven our strength and resilience for so many times. We have won so many battles bigger than Covid 19. For four (4) centuries, the country was invaded and abused by powerful colonizers whose superiority made our ancestors doomed for a long period of time. But our heroes who sacrificed their own lives never surrendered their fight. Never in their courageous lives, they thought of quitting the battle until one day the country succeeded in gaining freedom which it deserved.
We in the education sector have now been in the same battle our heroes had gone through for hundreds of hopeless years. We in the educational system are now in uncertain situation due to this pandemic. Now more than ever, we should not be futile and hapless. Now more than ever, we should not be fragile and sick. Now more than ever, we should not be weak and coward. Instead we should be hopeful and optimistic. Now more than ever, we should be strong. And most importantly, now more than ever, we must be brave to face and stand our ground.
Like our heroes, we, educators, must live our lives meaningfully. Our modern world does not require us to literally give up and sacrifice our own lives to be heroes. With uncertainties and ambiguities, let us all be determined to educate and produce not only knowledgeable, skilled and competent but also God-fearing individuals.