KAGUMA-Negros unites with the academe, students, and parents in strongly opposing DepEd’s insistent resumption of classes this August 24th through blended learning. It also is united with the call for a safe resumption of classes instead of an obviously flawed band-aid solution. Most importantly, it calls on the education sector to unite in demanding and pushing for a nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented education, which is deemed impossible while the tyrant Duterte remains in power.
DepEd Secretary Briones, along with Duterte, Galvez and the IATF are ignoring the glaring indications that the country is not at all ready to resume classes. Briones herself mentioned that every region is left for itself in facing the new mode of learning. With this, teachers and parents are left to bear the brunt of printing modules locally, acquiring radios, computers, internet paraphernalia, and other logistical concerns that are not subsidized by the government. Blended learning will worsen the inaccessibility of education. At least 7 million youth will not be able to attend classes this school year.
The militarized response of the pandemic has led to negatively affect the situation of the country’s education. Duterte has used his Juan Tamad approach of awaiting for a vaccine, despite the calls of healthcare workers and the entire Filipino people for mass testing a medical solution. Thus, physical classes are still unsafe in the Philippines, while other Southeast Asian Countries who used a medical approach to the pandemic are now back to normal. Recently, the fate of the country is being gambled on an unreliable vaccine from Russia.
KAGUMA agrees with Briones that students are yearning for their right to education. The state, however, along with its rubberstamp DepEd has, for the longest time, failed to provide that. Miseducated youth and underpaid-overworked teachers are proof of that. The systemic problem of a colonial, commercial, and repressive education plagues the nation even before the pandemic and is dire need of an overhaul.
Only through the national democratic revolution can education be truly of quality and accessible to the youth. It will also allow teachers to actually help in nation building as they will shape minds not for labor-export and foreign exploitation, but for the promotion and pushing of genuine land reform and national industrialization to maximize the country’s resources for self-sufficiency and improvement. A just society built upon this will also ensure the welfare of its teachers and academic staff.
Duterte’s police-military regime proves to be an impediment of such aims. The people’s collective demand for mass testing, along with the academic sector’s demand for a safe resumption of classes is not possible while the dictator remains in power. Instead of addressing these, he has weaponized the pandemic to further his tyranny and personal interests. Through Duterte’s ouster and the perseverance of revolutionary academics to wage the national democratic revolution, the aim for a nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented education is surely attainable.