Making learning work in the new normal

K-12 learning in public schools is due to start in the next few weeks, even as enrollment numbers are down significantly from a year ago. At this time when the pandemic poses uncertain risks to education, even among the youngest children, the consensus in the Philippines has been for long-distance and blended learning, with only those in low-risk areas able to adopt classroom learning. .

How the new modes of learning will perform in the coming months depends heavily on teachers and parents, who will have to go the extra mile to keep students focused on their studies outside the disciplined confines of traditional classrooms.

The Department of Education is now in the midst of reorganizing public school teachers into this new normal module-based learning. Public school teachers, unsurprisingly, are baffled by the crash course. However, in a nutshell, they have no choice but to cope and do the best they can.

Schooling in the current year for more than 27 million Filipino primary and secondary school students has already been delayed by several months, and has even been compounded by the two weeks missed during the last school year when lockdowns were imposed.

Less Ideal Circumstances

While homeschooling is not an economic problem in the Philippines, unlike in the United States, where parents rely on schools to care for their children while they work, idle and unproductive time outside of a learning environment it represents a missed opportunity that will affect future productivity.

When the drive to learn is lost, the temptation to drop out of school becomes very tempting. Statistics have shown that high school students who have not completed graduation requirements will have difficulty finding permanent jobs and will often be stuck as temporary or casual workers earning minimum wage for the rest of their lives.

For this reason, it is imperative that children get back into learning mode, even if it will not be under ideal circumstances during the pre-pandemic era of education.

We can only hope that teachers can learn quickly and adapt to the new normal demands of imparting knowledge so that the 2021 primary and secondary school graduates will not fall significantly behind their peers in other countries.

role of parents

It will be the parents, this time, with a lot of help and support from teachers and learning materials, whether in print or digital, who will have to collaborate to ensure that their children are not left behind.

For parents who believe and want their children to excel, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. It is the adults in families who have not supervised their growing children in their studies who will need the most help.

Likewise, wealthier families will find it easier to adapt because they can afford the modalities that allow digital learning, something that is now being successfully sold by the country’s largest universities and colleges that charge tens of thousands of pesos for tuition.

It is the families that cannot afford even a smartphone or a television that will suffer in the era of blended learning. Monitoring your youth’s home learning over the radio will be a challenge, even with the written guides left by teachers.

Still, everyone needs to do their best, and children are better off learning less in these tough times than not learning at all. We can even hope that parents can take a close look and assess what their children are learning.

edutech start-ups

Related during this pandemic is the emergence of new technology companies that have become more relevant to respond to the need to improve the country’s educational system or close the gaps in student and school aspirations.

Most educational technology (or edutech) startups in the Philippines focus on the tertiary levels where private colleges and universities dominate and charge high tuition fees.

Enrollment at the tertiary levels, therefore, is low compared to other countries in the region, especially as secondary school dropout rates continue to be high due to other financial costs such as transportation, school supplies, and other related expenses. even if enrollment is low. free.

Many successful edutech startups in the Philippines are those that offer easy loans to college students through their parents, though this may change once the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act that allows government subsidies for students, even in private schools, is fully approved. implemented.

In addition to facilitating school loans, other educational technology companies lack the support that would allow them to become significant contributors to education. EduSuites, for example, faces the challenge of enrolling colleges and universities in its enrollment transfer and class scheduling program digitally. Eskwelabs, which offers online courses in data science at very reasonable prices, laments its low enrollment.

Still, the Philippines presents a sea of ​​opportunities for edutech companies, not only because of the growing number of Filipino students, but also because of the relatively stable economic fundamentals that should give the country the leverage to grow once again as soon as this is over. pandemic. on.

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