The Department of Education (DepEd) confirmed that its decision to start the coming school year on Aug. 22 will push through despite calls to postpone the said opening.
Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Z. Duterte meanwhile said it is high time for leaders to invest among the youth of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region to achieve growth and stability.
Speaking on the school opening, DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa, in an ABS-CBN News report said the DepEd is “pushing through with this.
There’s no backing out. We will open our classes this year on August 22, 2022.”
Earlier, the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition urged the DepEd to move the school opening to mid-September.
The group argued that the school break was insufficient to allow teachers to recover from the previous academic year and prepare for the next one, ABS-CBN News reported.
However, Poa said “many” have already participated in the government’s Brigada Eskwela program. The program calls on stakeholders and volunteers to prepare schools for the coming school year.
Poa said that the DepEd was coordinating with other government agencies for the school opening, such as trade department to regulate the prices of school supplies, and the Department of Health to vaccinate students and school personnel against COVID-19, ABS-CBN News also reported.
In a related report, Vice President Duterte, in her speech during the 55th Asean anniversary celebration at the DepEd headquarters in Pasig City attended by members of the diplomatic corps, said supporting the youth will help realize the 2030 regional targets.
“As we endeavor to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, our challenge is to figure out how to ensure that all of Asean will reach its potential by 2030. Your excellencies, I believe that we should focus on the Asean youth,” she said.
She emphasized how quality education and regional collaboration amid diversity may help unleash the competence of the young people.
“One of the ways to involve the Asean youth is to ensure that they are equipped with the knowledge and skill set needed in a highly competitive environment. By strengthening intraregional scholarships and cultural exchanges between our countries, we will be able to increase the free flow of ideas, innovations, and skills,” she added.
Asean Secretary-General, Dato Lim Jock Hoi, shared the same level of value for the youth, noting that regional integration will surely help secure a resilient and productive Asean community.
“We should pay particular attention to the region’s youth initiative, such as the first Asean youth dialogue, as well as the Asean Junior fellowship program, which is part of our efforts to enable them to play a larger and more meaningful role in building a more equitable, inclusive, and greener community,” he said in a pre-recorded video message.
Besides education, he also mentioned other key areas worthy of investment including global linkages, digitization, and human capital.
“We must also continue to improve our productivity and competitiveness in these new drivers of growth by investing in the region’s human capital, and providing greater access to health, future-ready education, skilled training, and lifelong learning as well as a reliable social protection system,” he added.