ISULAN, Sultan Kudarat (MindaNews/ 06 September) –Sultan Kudarat Governor Suharto “Teng” Mangudadatu is opposing the resumption of classes next month in his province, claiming holding online classes is not fair to the poor who have no access to the internet and doing it via modular approaches exposes teachers and the communities to possible infection of the highly contagious coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“I don’t think our school children will become dumb if classes are not resumed in a few more months,” Mangudadatu said in an interview on Thursday.
He said the death of a 60-year old teacher due to COVID-19 is still haunting the province. Her husband and other family members were also infected, having had close contact with her.
Local transmission occurred when the late teacher mingled with other teachers while reporting to school to prepare the modules, he said.
“The teacher infected many other teachers unknowingly and when they went home they already had the virus… that is why I condemn the program of DepEd, I will not allow that in my province, have mercy on our school children,” the governor said.
He explained they do not have enough hospitals in the province.
Mangudadatu described the DepEd’s online classes as unfair to pupils who do not have internet connection and money to buy gadgets.
“Kung malakas ang internet server natin, sige let’s do it, go to the modular program, go to the virtual program, pero kung wala pa yang internet connection please hindi pwede ang selected education dahil yung mga dito sa urban na mga bayan sila ng mga makapag aral, paano naman yung sa mga malalayong lugar?, its unfair, dapat general program tayo,” he said.
The other learning modalities approved by the Department of Education during this period when face-to-face classes are not allowed due to the pandemic, include distance learning via online and offline digital modules; distance learning through radio, television and printed modules; blended learning through radio, television, digital and printed modules; and home schooling with somebody guiding the student.
He expressed fears that in the distribution of modules, teachers who go the school to collect the modules and distribute the students could be exposed to the virus.
Sultan Kudarat has 86 COVID-19 cases as of 6 p.m. on September 5, according to the Department of Health regional office.
Sultan Kudarat implemented a “No Movement Sunday” on September 6. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)