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  • Parents, Teachers, And Students: Yes Or No To #AcademicFreezeNow?

    The hashtag went trending on social media, a month before public school starts.
    by SmartParenting Staff .
Parents, Teachers, And Students: Yes Or No To #AcademicFreezeNow?
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    The hashtag #AcademicFeezeNow was trending on social media last September 3, 2020, one month before school opens for those enrolled in public schools on October 5.

    There is even an online petition to "cancel the academic year 2020-2021" on change.org with the hashtag #yestoacademicfreezenow. It was created three months ago but has gained traction in the last six days with a target of 300,000 signatures. It now has more than 220,000. 

    The lack of a stable Internet connection was the number 1 reason cited in the petition. Critics of DepEd have accused the government agency of glossing over the fact that online learning is not just challenging. It also puts those who cannot afford Internet data or a laptop at a disadvantage.

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    DepEd's basic education continuity plan gives regional and division offices leeways to decide how to conduct distance education. It has three learning delivery modalities: Modular Distance Learning (MDL), Online Distance Learning (ODL), TV/Radio-Based Instruction (it can be all three). What it will look like at the moment is something like this simulation DepEd did back in July. 


    However, the petition alleges that parents still need to pay the courier service for printed materials to be delivered to their homes when money is already tight due to the quarantine.

    The youth group SPARK (Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan), which protested in front of the Commission on Higher Education last August 31, also demanded an academic freeze. The group's chairperson, John Lazaro told Rappler, that the group asks the government for "further procurement of laptops for students and teachers, and public consultations on the composition of modules and broadcast content."

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    Based on the public posts under the hashtag, Facebook's reactions, in particular, have been pro-academic freeze. Many posted wondering whether students are actually learning, especially when they find it hard to keep up with the lessons. (Private schools or learning institutions are allowed to open earlier than October 5.)   

    The screenshots that were often shared were the text messages of a woman selling her nude images and videos because she needed to "participate in her online class." (We cannot confirm its veracity.)

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    GMA News reported that DepEd and the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) are against an academic freeze this school year despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

    DepEd points out that more than 24 million students have already enrolled, signaling a strong desire among parents and students to go back to school. But people are probably still going through a period of adjustment, says Education Undersecretary for Legislative Affairs, External Partnerships and Project Management Service Tonisito Umali.

    Meanwhile, COCOPEA managing director Joseph Noel Estrada said an academic freeze will mean students will have to work harder to make up for the learning competencies, which was disrupted as early as February this year.

    “Halos isang buong taon ang nawala sa kanila equivalent sa kanilang pag-aaral so makikita mo talaga na kailangang maghabol at ‘di ‘to maso-solve lalo kung magkakaroon ng academic freeze,” GMA quoted Estrada as saying.

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    On Facebook, Sen. Risa Hontiveros asked people for their opinions and shared a column she wrote. "Sa tingin ko, sa lahat ng nangyayaring ito, mahalaga na magkaroon ng matiniding suporta ang mga guro at mga magulang."


    Sen. Hontiveros honed in on the mental wellness that parents and teachers will need amid the pandemic. She said the teachers' workload has now doubled, making stress-debriefing sessions and other psychosocial support crucial. She added more teachers are needed now, especially when you have 40 students to a class.

    "Para sa mga guro, dapat palawigin ng Department of Education ang mental health support, lalong-lalo na ang debriefing at counseling sa mga guro bilang suporta sa mga mabibigat na pagbabago sa modes of learning.

    "At pinakamahalaga sa lahat, panahon na para taasan ang kanilang sahod."

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