The credibility of the Department of Education’s online survey on the opening of classes this coming August was questioned because only those who have access to the internet managed to answer it.
At a virtual Senate hearing into the government’s response for education on May 21, Education Secretary Leonor Briones told senators that results from an online survey they recently conducted showed that majority of students and teachers have access to the Internet.
Briones also said that most schools agreed to resume classes for the next school year by August.
DepEd launched the controversial online poll last April 17 on its official social media accounts.
“The Department of Education is conducting a survey to better inform its policies and decisions on the opening of classes for SY 2020-2021,” the post read.
“DepEd values the consultation and involvement of its stakeholders in the decision-making process, particularly those who will be significantly affected by the decision/s relative to the opening of classes,” the post added.
YOUR VOICE MATTERS 📣The Department of Education is conducting a survey to better inform its policies and decisions on…
Since the survey was done online, some Filipinos lamented that the results mentioned only reflect the decisions or preferences of those who can easily go online.
“Online yung survey. Paano makakasagot sa survey yung mga walang internet in the first place?” one user said.
— . (@maykamaykaba) May 22, 2020
Another Twitter user suggested to cancellation of classes for the rest of the year.
“Just cancel the school year for 2020, DepEd. not everyone has internet access and not everyone wants to take the risk into going to school physically,” the user said.
Twitter user Oliver Ylec, who goes by the username @ylectrick, meanwhile, claimed that his mother was among the teachers who took the survey. He shared that according to his mother, teachers were also required to answer the part dedicated for the students’ responses.
“It was distasteful because my mother’s supervisor told her teachers to answer even the student’s part claiming it as mandatory. My mother claimed that almost all of her students had no internet connectivity, but proceeded to answer it anyway because it was ‘mandatory’,” the user said.
The online poll also suggested that students without internet access have no choice but to find one.
New and ‘much bigger’ survey for the coming school year
On Thursday, Briones issued another statement saying that the department is currently conducting a “much bigger survey” concerning the opening of the school year and other related matters.
“DepEd is conducting a much bigger survey of more than 700,000 respondents, not only on the opening of the school year but also matters related to social distancing; and online classes, cellphone, television or radio as alternative or complementary approaches to learning. The results will come out in a few days,” she said.
Briones said that the results of this new poll will greatly influence their decision on alternative learning activities for the resumption of classes.
She likened the pandemic situation to Marawi siege in 2017, wherein the uprising did not deter the students’ education.
“In the midst of the Coronavirus crisis, our call remains the same: Education must continue whether face-to-face or virtual, with or without physically going to school,” Briones said.
“What we assure our learners, parents, teachers, and the general public is that any decision we will make for the continuation of learning will have their health, safety, and well-being as a primary consideration,” she added.
DepEd recently decided to move the opening of classes for the school year 2020 to 2021 from the previously scheduled June to August amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. It will start on August 24 and end on April 30, 2021.
The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease also approved the education department’s Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP) that teachers and students may use for continued learning while coping with the global health crisis.
Teachers groups the Alliance of Concerned Teachers and the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition previously expressed their concerns that the health and economic conditions may persist until August.
Former senator Antonio Trillanes IV, meanwhile, asked the DepEd to start the school year in January 2021 instead.
A call for January opening of classes in public schools and SUCs: pic.twitter.com/SMbtSfg0Ci
— Sonny Trillanes IV (@TrillanesSonny) May 22, 2020