ACT to DepEd: Integrate COVID-19 pandemic education in curriculum

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines reissued their call on DepEd to integrate COVID-19 and pandemic education in the curriculum, which was recently reflected in the President’s order to strengthen ‘health literacy’ among learners after announcing his own condition’s nearing stage 1 cancer.

The group argues that DepEd’s claim of already having health literacy ‘embedded in various subjects’ should be reviewed and accordingly revised to include vital information on the present health crisis.

“It cannot be overstated that education must be relevant, by means of reflecting and responding to social realities. COVID-19/pandemic education is—to borrow DepEd’s words—an ‘essential competency’ that needs to be deeply integrated in core subjects.

Health courses and all other subjects for that matter should not be taught as though they exist in vacuums, lest we risk alienating learners from their experience and survival,” expounded ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.

ACT worried that DepEd’s response indicated ‘complacency’ on the adequacy of its current curriculum in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and empowering millions of learners to contribute to stemming its spread. Basilio, however, noted how ground reports show that learning materials such as the self-learning modules (SLMs) failed to include discussions on COVID-19, except in some locally produced modules in NCR schools and divisions.

“The modicum of material we have on COVID-19 and pandemic education seems to be more an initiative of some teachers and local officials, rather than of DepEd. This is further evidenced by the absence of an official directive and decisive steps to ensure the seamless integration of such in the curriculum. Given that this health crisis affects nearly all cities and provinces in the country, we forward that DepEd’s national office should be leading the agency in ensuring that the country’s education system responds to our people’s needs, especially at this time of unrelenting crises,” Basilio declared.

He criticized DepEd for its ‘blindedness’ not only to social realities that disadvantage the majority of its constituents, but also to education’s ultimate objective of equipping the youth with knowledge and skills to understand and better the society.

“Continuing to be oblivious to these pressing needs is tantamount to neglecting the youth and disregarding their potentials to contribute in our fight to surmount these crises. Hence, we reiterate our demand that DepEd as the biggest education agency ensure education’s social relevance starting with the development and incorporation of COVID-19 and pandemic-related content to the curriculum,” pressed Basilio.