COTABATO CITY— After two years of distance learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic, thousands of students flocked to school on Monday, Aug. 22, as face-to-face (F2F) classes re-opened in the Philippines.
To signal the opening of classes in the Bangsamoro region, Director-General for Basic Education Abdullah Jun Salik led the beating of a gong during the ceremonial opening held by the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) at Cotabato City Central Pilot School (CCCPS).
Director General Salik, representing Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal, said, “the underlying message of Oplan Balik Eskwela is the effective collaboration of the Bangsamoro education community to ensure a safe, nurturing, and dynamic environment for the children’s quality learning.”
“The past two years have certainly tested the attitude of the regional government to rapidly respond to the needs of its constituents. Hence, the MBHTE changed the teaching and learning modality to ensure safety and maintain protocols in Covid-19 pandemic,” he added.
All elementary and high school students in BARMM will start on ‘blended learning modality’ or 3 days of F2F classes and 1.5 days of distance learning through Alternative Learning Materials (ALM), from August 22 until October 31.
“We have to maintain and ensure the implementation of a protocol to avoid the increasing (cases of Covid-19). There are three days in person of classes, 1.5 remedial classes, and .05 is intended for teachers and staff meetings,” said Shaffa Guiani, Principal IV of CCCPS.
During the first week of in-person classes, teachers and non-teaching personnel will conduct psychosocial support activities to the students, with the assistance of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Section.
“Our teachers had psychological training to provide psychological support to our pupils due to the impact of the pandemic for two years and as they are going back to face-to-face classes,” he added.
Many parents were excited on the return of F2F classes, and with the help of teachers, they are confident that students can learn more inside the classroom.
Aiza Menang Duga, 41, a parent of 2nd and 6th graders, believes that children learn better in the four corners of the classroom. She said this will help those busy parents who don’t have enough time to assist their children in the modular alternative learning process.
“Bilang isang magulang, natutuwa kami na makita ang aming mga anak na magkakaroon na nang face-to-face classes dahil mas malaki at marami ang natututunan ng mga mag-aaral sa loob ng silid-aralan,” said Duga.
Fifth-grade student Hans Angelo Rivera admits he has been waiting for the day when he can finally return to the classroom and see his friends and teachers again.
“Maganda rin naman po ang modular learning kasi nakakaiwas tayo sa paghawa ng Covid-19, ngunit mas maganda parin ang pagkakaroon ng face-to-face classes dahil nakikita ko ang aking mga kaklase at marami kaming matutunan sa loob ng paaralan,” Rivera shared.
During Monday’s activity, the MBHTE also distributed school materials for the teachers of said school, such as flashlights, ballpens, markers, masking tape, paper clips, thumbtacks, scissors, glue, stapler, eraser, scotch tape, staple, wire, crayons, umbrella, window envelope, class record, lesson plan book, manila paper, and two reams of multi-purpose paper. (Johaira Sahidala/BIO)