The Department of Education (DepEd) announced that there will be no face-to-face learning this school year due to the threat of COVID-19. This means students will have to study at home through their gadgets and internet connection or via printed learning materials to be distributed later on.
Acknowledging that most students can’t buy a laptop or personal computer and get a stable internet connection, the Quezon City (QC) government found a solution to the problem. They plan to convert computer shops in the city to ‘blended learning’ centers.
Aly Medalla, the head of educational affairs at QC local government unit (LGU), explains that converting the computer shops will help the families of children who can’t afford to buy laptops.
Aside from this, the LGU also plans to provide learning modules or study materials that the children can bring home to do self-study. There will be learning depots at barangay halls or barangay libraries (if any) for the kids or their parents to get the necessary materials.
“The plan is ang modules, mayroon tayong learning depots Kung saan pwede ito kunin ng mga magulang na mas malapit sa kanilang tahanan,” Medalla explained.
The LGU will also pay for the costs of maintaining these computer shops as blended learning centers. They will pick a time slot that would work best for the students and the computer shops.
“For certain periods of the day for example sa umaga ‘yung lean time nila kung di masyado maraming customer ‘yun kukunin namin time slot,” Medalla added.
The local government plans to meet with computer shop owners regarding this plan. However, parents and netizens are skeptical over the plan. Many see no difference between the computer shops and classrooms. If students can go to computer shops to learn, why not just let them go to their classrooms, instead?
Also, many parents pointed out that the computer shops are smaller than classrooms. How would they implement social distancing? Moreover, parents raised concerns over sanitation, particularly because the computer shops will be used by other customers after the students are done studying.
“Kung sa computer shop naman ano kasiguruhan ko Naman na mag-aaral nang maayos anak ko ang wifi ba natin enough ba mukhang malabo pa rin yan baka magkagastos lang ako sa wala,” said Greg Ilhino, a tricycle driver.
“Alam mo kahit napakaganda at napakalakas ng internet mo dumarating ang time na mag-hang halimbawa nagtuturo titser mo Sabi nga iba importante eh, tapos bigla ka nag-hang bigla nagpa-quiz ang titser online ano isasagot mo eh nag-hang nga,” agreed Christian Naguit, a computer shop owner.