Lumad farmer worried over modular distance learning but will try his best for his children’s future

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 04 October) — As classes start for elementary and senior high in public and private schools on Monday, October 5, a Lumad farmer in Barangay Tawan-tawan says he is worried over the modular distance learning (MDL) set-up, as he might not be able to teach his children well this school-year.

“Medyo lisod gyud na sa side sa amoa. Dili man gyud mi sakto nga kahibalo nga mutudlo sama sa pagtudlo sa mga maestra. Lahi ra man gyud ta nga kita mga ginikanan (It would be difficult for us considering that we as parents are not trained to teach),” farmer Enrico Angalan, an Obu-Manobo said.

Obu-Manobo Enrico Angalan checks on the fruits of his cacao tree in his farm in Brgy. Tawan-Tawan, Baguio District, Davao City. The indigenous peoples living in this area, mostly Obu-Manobo and Bagobo-Klata, grow cacao, banana, and durian as their main livelihood. MindaNews photo by ROB GUMBA

Angalan is a father of three elementary students, the eldest in Grade 8, and one in kindergarten, at the Rosalia AglayAyag Elementary School (formerly Tawan-Tawan Elementary School)  which is  implementing MDL because face-to-face classes are still prohibited due to the highly contagious coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

But his worries notwithstanding, Angalan vowed to do his best for the sake of his children’s future.

“Himoon lang man gyud ang tanan kay edukasyon man gyud ni sa mga bata ang hisgutan (We will just do everything because it is our children’s education),” he said, adding he dreams his children will find a good job after graduation and live a better life.

According to the Department of Education’s (DepEd) Department Order No.12 s. 2020 issued in June, schools may choose to implement MDL, Online Distance Learning (ODL), and television (TV)/Radio-Based Instruction for this school year.

In a remote area like Barangay Tawan-Tawan where there is phone and internet connectivity is poor, MDL is the preferred mode.

This learning modality allows learners to use printed or digital self-learning modules (SLMs) and other learning resources like textbooks, activity sheets, study guides.

Teachers of the Rosalia Aglay Ayag Elementary School (formerly Tawantawan Elementary School) pose to show they are ready for the opening of classes – not face-to-face as this is prohibited due to COVID-19 – but through modulardistance learning. Photo from Rosalia Aglay Ayag Elementary School Facebook page.

Angalan’s worry that he may not be competent enough to teach his children because he only reached Grade 6 is assuaged by the fact that he is not alone. The DepEd Order states that  teachers must monitor the progress of the learners and shall do home visits to learners needing remediation or assistance, and that any member of the family or other stakeholders in the community “need to serve as para-teachers.”

The opening of classes, usually in early June, was moved to a later date because of COVID-19. It was initially scheduled on August 24 and later moved to October 5. Schoolyear 2020 to 2021 will end on June 11, 2021. (Roberto A. Gumba, Jr. / MindaNews)