The Department of Education postponed the virtual launch of its “school readiness program” scheduled at 8:45 a.m. on Monday after experiencing technical difficulties.
The program was supposed to showcase the different modes of the distance learning approach in different regions in the country – online learning, self-learning modules, and learning through TV and radio. President Rodrigo Duterte was supposed to deliver the keynote speech at 10:20 a.m.
“Glitches, power interruption and technical difficulties happened during the national kick-off. In a national event as big as this, we can’t avoid (experiencing) it. We will continue and strive to be back and get up,” DepEd undersecretary Anne Sevilla told reporters.
A smooth and trouble-free virtual launch could have done wonders for the public perception of DepEd and our embattled government in general that has been aching for any win or positive development during these troubled times. Instead, the public got another reason to be apprehensive of their government’s ability to deliver on its obligations.
DepEd has already been criticized for its decision to open schools in the middle of a health crisis. Parents and students have pointed out that the COVID-19 lockdowns has affected household finances, and a significant number of Filipinos still don’t have computers or access to the internet. Teachers have asked the DepEd to delay classes to a later date to give them more time to prepare. The President himself has expressed doubts regarding his country’s capability to implement distance learning in one of his late night rambling speeches.
The glitch-ridden virtual launch its “school readiness program” should serve as a two-minute warning for the DepEd as it prepares to start the school year. Ready or not, schools will reopen soon and the country’s students cannot afford to be used as test subjects for an alternative educational system that hasn’t been comprehensively thought out and field tested.
The Department of Education needs to surmount the numerous challenges it is going to face if its objectives for SY 2020 are going to be achieved. The botched virtual launch was a bad start but that doesn’t mean the DepEd, school administrators and teachers are still going for a happy ending.
Let us wish them the best of luck and extend as much support as we can.*