A survey by the Asian Development Bank revealed nearly 5 out of 10 Filipino households saying they have children who are not attending school because of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
Forty-six percent of survey respondents in the Philippines have children not attending school due to the health crisis, making it the second highest rate among the eight ASEAN countries surveyed. Only Myanmar, which had a rate of 52percent, scored higher.
Among Filipino households surveyed whose schools offered online education, either fully or partially, 35 percent of the respondents in the Philippines said they are not attending at all. This is the highest rate among the countries surveyed. In comparison, about 80 percent of families in Indonesia and Vietnam attended all classes offered online.
Peter Morgan, Vice Chair of Research at the ADB Institute, blamed the Philippines’ internet connectivity problems and lack of affordable gadgets for the poor participation in schools.
The ADB survey also showed that households in the Philippines were among the hardest hit economically by the pandemic in the region.
Classes in the country where supposed to open on August 24 but the government moved it to October 5 to allow more students to enroll.
The Department of Education said last month it expects 4 million out-of-school youth in the coming academic year which will see schools shift from the traditional classroom to distance learning due to COVID-19.
In an administration where department heads have taken to using the words “not that bad” to describe dismal performance, education cannot be ignored further. At this point, we can only hope the DepEd and all the other government agencies involved in the preparations for the reopening of the academic year have taken advantage of the opportunity to increase accessibility and prepare as many Filipino families and schoolchildren who are hoping that their government will not allow them to be left behind further.*