Davao students skipping classes worries teachers, officials

Oct. 27, 2020

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Students reportedly found loitering on the city during school hours have worried local and school officials.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte aired this concern after reports of what she described as “senior high looking and college students” seen roaming around the city during class that are held online due to the pandemic.

The mayor added that some were apprehended in one area of the city for violating quarantine guidelines, but did not divulge how many students were caught.

“I am calling out the Department of Education. Make a way for them to stay at home and don’t just depend on the city government. Please make a system to check that they are in their homes” the mayor aired her appeal to the regional DepEd office on her program at DXDR Disaster Radio on Monday.

Duterte-Carpio added that this is the concern of the teachers since she assumed parents would be out for work or have other concerns.

The DepEd has been implementing a modular and online learning program for this school year that started late in October as the coronavirus pandemic made face to face classes impossible.

DepEd Region 11 spokesperson Genelito Atillo assured Duterte that they are looking into this matter after teachers reported that class participation online have been dwindling.

“We understand the concern of Mayor Sara regarding this matter, in fact, before this, we have already instructed our teachers and the schools to come up with an effective mechanism that monitors the learning of our students,” he said.

DepEd Region 11 had released a memorandum last October 24 instructing all schools division superintendents, supervisors in all levels, cluster heads, and teachers “to establish a mechanism that will strategically and randomly monitor the attendance of learners to ensure that they are at home doing their expected tasks”.

The memorandum also advised establishing community help desks to assist parents and guardians in monitoring students.

The City Government of Davao’s recent memorandum Executive Order 57 in Section 15 directs public school advisers “to have a regular schedule of compliance check of students and their performance tasks according to their modules.”

The section further stated: “Checking must be unannounced and conducted at random times from Monday to Friday within the hours of 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. All students found to be missing inside their residences or not within 3 meters of their residences during school hours shall receive an equivalent grade reduction in their subjects.”

Atillo also asked parents to help monitor their students and assist in the new learning setup.

But this is easier said than done, says one teacher from Daniel Aguinaldo National High School who requested anonymity.

“Not all my students have enough load (for their phones), others don’t even have a cellular phone to begin with. When we try to contact them, some are out of reach. We try to connect with the parents but we don’t have all their contact numbers,” she said.

Another challenging aspect for her is that she only meets the parents once every two weeks during distribution or receiving of learning modules.

She considers many factors why students seem to be less motivated to sustain their classes online.

“There seems to be no quality learning or focus because the students are forced to meet the deadlines, plus other factors like the environment at home,” she said.

Parents have earlier expressed difficulty of online schooling with the lack of gadgets and finance to sustain this learning, plus other factors such as economic and household concerns.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers have earlier aired their request to DepEd and the national government to provide Internet subsidy and gadgets for the online schooling system. (davaotoday.com)

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