Retired teachers, professionals tapped as learning facilitators

ILOILO CITY – The municipality of Concepcion in northern Iloilo will tap learning facilitators to help parents teach their children amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

“We can expect a lot of glitches and problems but resilient as we are, we will adjust and make the necessary preparations,” said Concepcion Mayor Raul Banias in a phone interview on Thursday.

The town will adopt the modular type of learning modality when classes start August 24 and admitted that this is going “to be challenging, difficult and trying times” for teachers, learners, parents, and community.

Banias said last year’s reading proficiency assessment showed that many of the town’s learners are non-readers or they can be readers but can hardly comprehend.

The town has 34 public schools in 25 barangays.

Armed with knowledge on the challenges posed by the modular type of teaching, they have already anticipated the problems that they would be encountering, he said.

“We identified learning facilitators, we tap alumni and various groups to help our learners,” he added.

A survey also showed the educational attainment of parents to determine if they are capable of assisting learners.

Facilitators such as retired professionals and teachers are giving their services for free.

The Public Employment Service Office (PESO) was instructed to prioritize education graduates to help teachers under the Government Internship Program (GIP) and cash-for-work.

Ready for deployment are 65 education graduates, who will be paid an honorarium by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the provincial government of Iloilo.

The town also launched donation drive and got two Risograph machines donated by the One Meal Program, two printers from Synergeia Foundation, and reams of bond papers from Philip Chua of the Iloilo Society Commercial.

The town’s budget for their sports activities and PHP1.6-million special education fund (SEF) were realigned and allocated for the procurement of Riso machines and supplies.

A centralized printing of modules will be done at the municipal building to spare schools from expenses on electricity and operators, the mayor said.

Banias shared the strategies with more than 100 participants of the web conference organized by the Regional Education Council (REC) and Synergeia Foundation on Monday.

Banias, who sits as vice-chair of REC Panay, said before the opening of classes, they plan to subject teachers to swab test, orient them on Covid-19 health protocols, contact tracing, and active case detection.

“We know that the more educated the child becomes, (he/she) is given more opportunities in life. It can really unshackle people from poverty. Amid this pandemic, let us not forget to support our education,” Banias said.

In the conference dubbed “Innovations in Public Education in the Time of Covid”, Cabatuan Mayor Ronnie Caspe also shared the strategies of his town.

Caspe said the town’s expanded local school board (LSB) upon proper consultation with concerned government agencies realigned its budget under the school education fund (SEF) for maintenance and repair of school buildings and a portion of its sports budget.

It was instead used to buy Riso machine for the production of modules and other supplies such as inks and bond papers.

“It is LGU that is expected to act and share its resources in order to fill the gap. This is a simple way of how LGUs could help the education sector. The PHP1.7 million budget realigned for module reproduction will go a long way to ensure that learners in Cabatuan will not be left out,” he said.

Iloilo Board Member and REC chair Jason Gonzales said the conference was a venue for sharing best practices that are already implemented at the local level.

“It was intended that we learn from our peers,” said Gonzales. (PNA)