Each year when school opens in June, media is full of DepEd news, recycled news, that is. DepEd lacks thousands of teachers. DepEd lacks thousands of classrooms. DepEd lacks textbooks, and desks, and pieces of chalk. We shake our heads and curse the government. We shrug our shoulders and blame corruption.
However, this year, media outfits have something new to report about DepEd. Alongside the usual lack of this and that, learning alternatives take some airspace. For a change, the government is actually giving us alternatives.
To mitigate our lack of teachers and classrooms, DepEd offers home schooling and distance learning where students meet only once a week. To this news, parents and students are shown in havoc and indignation. No, they'd rather be with a hundred students in a classroom built for a class size of forty than be home schooled. They'd rather spend lunch money and daily fares to school than be home schooled. A once-a-week school is not a school at all.
Tsk! A good information campaign during summer could have solved the confusion, but DepEd has been busy selling the K to 12 project they must have missed it. For me, home schooling and distance learning would have made a greater and more immediate impact because it offers a solution which effect is immediately measurable and realizable. You cut down the number of students per class, and the teacher becomes more effective. You cut down the number of regular-school-day students, and you cut down the need for desks and classrooms. (May be not chalk.)
But there's a catch. You need outstanding teachers to handle students under home schooling and distance learning for these programs to succeed. The Philippines is a 90-million strong nation. Campaign for volunteers. These volunteers can come from individuals who have successful Monday to Friday jobs, individuals who are willing to give back, individuals who want to change this country but don't know how, retired professionals who hate to be considered useless, individuals who could have made it big outside the Philippines but stay put for the love of country, individuals who believe that to build this nation, they have to be here in this nation. How hard is it to try and ask them to volunteer for a day in a week?
Every month of June, DepEd cries for help. Have we all gone deaf and blind? I hope I haven't.
Of course, I'm simply talking to the moon.