According to World Vision Philippines National Director Rommel V. Fuerte, the organization’s “rapid impact assessment reveals that one of the topmost critical problems faced by children and their parents during the COVID-19 pandemic is education opportunities, aside from food security and access to health care.”
Of the children respondents, 21% said they are either unwilling or unsure to attend school, whether face-to-face or blended learning, when classes start this month. The other 89%, meanwhile, anticipate challenges on the use of online learning platforms while 38% do not have access to the internet. (Read: Limited Face-To-Face Classes to Be Allowed in Low-Risk Areas)
Their parents, on the other hand, echoed these sentiments and included the lack of gadgets in their concerns.
Due to these challenges, World Vision Philippines has partnered with the Department of Education (DepEd) for a fund-raising initiative titled Abutin Na10: Para sa Sampung Milyong Mag-aaral, Sampung Piso, Sampung Araw, Sampung Milyong Pilipino.
“With millions of Filipinos taking part in this endeavor, last-mile learners can continue their education while ensuring that their lives are not at risk due to COVID-19,” Fuerte said. (Read: World Vision PH to Launch Fundraiser for the Benefit of Schoolchildren)
He explained that the funds to be raised from the Abutin Na10 initiative will be used by DepEd in printing self-learning materials and/or procuring gadgets to support children’s learning from home.
In response to World Vision’s campaign, DepEd Las Piñas has started a city-wide advocacy drive to support the country’s Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan.
To help last-mile learners cope with the impacts of COVID-19, the Superintendent of the DepEd Schools Division Office of Las Piñas City, Dr. Joel Torrecampo, has led a voluntary “pass the hat” initiative. (Read: Powerful Prayers for Students and Educators Affected by the Pandemic)
“We are a family under one country so we ought to be compassionate for others who are in need, especially the most vulnerable children,” Dr. Torrecampo said.
Dr. Torrecampo and fellow DepEd officials and school heads were able to raise P70,000, which they turned over to Geomel P. Jetonzo (World Vision Education Manager) and Atty. Tonisito M.C. Umali, Esq. (DepEd Undersecretary for Legislative Liaison Office, External Parterships Service and Project Management Service).
LGU Gives Back
In return, the local government of Las Piñas has confirmed that it will be providing educational equipment, gadgets, and hygiene kits for teachers and students while in the new normal. (Read: Pasig City Raises P1.2 Billion to Buy Gadgets for Online Classes)
“I believe it is our collective resolve here in Las Piñas City.. to be of humble service to those in dire need, so our children will be able to reach their dreams, and not stop schooling because of this pandemic,” shared Dr. Torrecampo.
During the campaign launch of Abutin Na10, DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones commended this worthy effort and asserted that “education must continue with or without the threat of the COVID-19 because it is perhaps the greatest legacy we can leave our learners and our children.”
The education chief also said that we should ensure that “the health, safety, and well-being of learners, teachers, and personnel are protected.”