During the COVID-19 pandemic, schools throughout the globe implemented distance or remote learning, emphasizing the role of parents in the new normal education.
As Philippine schools implement a hybrid system two years later, we see further the role of community in the new normal education in providing a support system for today’s learners.
COVID-19 disrupted education systems throughout the world, including the Philippines’. After a brief halting of classes, the Department of Education (DEPED) modules on alternative education proposed online, offline, and blended learning methods that used digital tools, print-out modules, and TV and radio modules.
The state of education during COVID-19 highlighted the learning gap that is rooted in the wide income gap in the country. Learners from lower income families struggled to keep up as they lacked the necessary gadgets, money for load, etc. Parents also struggled to support their children as they either lacked the time or the knowledge to do so.
In 2022, the Philippines reinstated in-person classes. Education in a post-COVID world added health concerns along with a plethora of old issues, such as large class sizes, lack of basic infrastructure, and outdated teaching methods.
The pandemic pulled back the country’s progress in education. Apart from high drop out rates, less than 15 percent of 10-year-olds can read simple texts, proving the worsening quality of education.
Schools have implemented the use of mobile technology in learning as they resume in-person classes, focusing on hybrid or flexible learning. Alternative education frameworks are also in place to accommodate the different needs of learners and help improve the quality of education post-pandemic.
While parents had a hands-off approach pre-COVID-19, the pandemic highlighted the role of parents in the new normal education as teachers’ learning partners. During the pandemic, communities and parents stepped up to support students’ learning – delivering modules, guiding their lessons, and helping organize their tasks.
As the country recovers from the pandemic, the role of community and parents in education as active learning partners continues in the new normal. Parents are encouraged to take an active role in ensuring their child’s progress engaging with teachers to bridge any gap, while the community ensures a safe environment that is conducive for learning.
Indeed, educational institutions, teachers, parents, and communities must continue working together to support learning and help improve learner outcomes.
The advocacy material on family and community engagement in time of COVID-19 was developed under the Strengthening Delivery of Multigrade Program in Region 8 (SDMG R8) expansion project – a tripartite cooperation project among UNICEF, DepEd and SEAMEO INNOTECH to support DepEd’s Basic Education-Learning Continuity Plan.
The advocacy material, written in Filipino, entitled “Ang Pamilya at Komunidad bilang Learning Partners sa Panahon ng COVID-19,” aims to engage parents, family, and community members as learning partners under the ‘new normal’ set-up that we are in today after the pandemic. The material offered practical tips to help the family and community members become more effective learning partners of their children and students. The tips and core messages revolved around maintaining quality education, and a safe, happy, and inclusive learning environment using remote learning strategies. Considering that many schools implemented home-based learning, modular-based and online learning delivery during the pandemic, practical tips on online safety were also provided by this advocacy material which can also be helpful for learning institutions that are continuing their hybrid setup post-pandemic.
As the world recovers from the pandemic, a new normal is being established. SEAMEO INNOTECH encourages families and communities to be more engaged in helping improve the quality of education.
The role of parents in the new normal education requires a more active engagement in their child’s learning at home and overall progress. We have also discovered the crucial role of community in the new normal education to ensure the delivery of quality education for all.
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