Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Monday called on government to provide smooth transition for students amid COVID-19 crisis, stressing that quality education is important in the preparations for “Balik Probinsya” Program.
He emphasized the need to prepare schools in different parts of the country for the expected transfer of students from urban areas as more Filipinos express willingness to relocate to their home provinces after the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) health emergency.
He urged concerned government agencies to plan long-term solutions to help the country recover more quickly from the COVID-19 crisis and help Filipinos adapt to the “new normal.”
In particular, Go asked the education sector to prepare measures so that students can continue with their schooling without putting them at risk.
The senator earlier recommended to the government to implement a “Balik Probinsya” program when the spread of the disease has been controlled and travel restrictions have been lifted.
He said that the hardships experienced during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) as well as the adverse socio-economic impact of the crisis on the livelihood of Filipinos would require the government to aid families to start a new life in their home provinces.
In preparation for the implementation of the “Balik Probinsya” program, Go said that the education system in rural areas must be enhanced to prepare for the transfer of students. Aside from the physical facilities of schools, Go said that a thorough review of teaching strategy based on new technology and availability of the internet for E-learning must be considered.
Go further explained that one of the primary considerations of families when they choose a community to live in or relocate to is the availability of quality schools and learning institutions in the area for their children.
For the long term, he emphasized that the availability of good learning institutions in provinces will develop educated and skilled workers that would attract employers and businesses to invest in the countryside.
Go also explained that one reason why students and even whole families move from provinces to urban areas is due to the notion that schools in Metro Manila are better than those in the provinces.
The senator believes that the government should promote schools in regions that have developed students who have excelled in their respective fields. This, he said, would entice families to relocate to their home provinces and also disprove the notion that quality schools are only located in Metro Manila.
He also cited that a lot of students are stranded in Metro Manila away from their families in the provinces due to the ECQ.
Go also said that the whole education system in every region must be taken into consideration to avoid the need for students to relocate after finishing one level and moving on to the next.
Go encouraged the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to work together and continue assessing the quality and capacity of schools in each region to contribute to the proper implementation of the “Balik Probinsya” program. /Stacy Ang