It is no question that this pandemic has caused major setbacks in our daily lives and especially with education. What can one do for education in the middle of a pandemic with little options for learning? This is certainly the question that has been bothering schools, teachers, and students. Some would wait to be given an answer but not Principal Rogie Espulagar. This devoted and passionate teacher and principal from Bacjawan Elementary School, Iloilo made a way to continue education amidst this pandemic. He came up with a ‘school learning continuity plan.’ This plan aims to provide assistance and support to learners in embracing the new normal. But why did he go through this tremendous effort? He said that he has always believed in the power of education, how it can transform one to be a better person, and give opportunities to broaden one’s horizon. He sees education as the best tool to combat poverty and he believes everybody deserves quality education. He has a passion to help and educate people and sees this as his mission.
Principal Rogie’s continuity plan has several objectives. It aims to provide support and assistance to learners while normal school operations are disrupted and physical access to schools is fully or partially restricted. It utilizes varied learning modalities suited to the needs of the learners while considering the availability of learning resources, ICT facilities, and capability of teachers. It also recognizes the need to capacitate teachers, parents/guardian, and stakeholders to create positive learning environments to learners whether at school, home or community. Clearly, Principal Rogie had a well-thought-out plan and pulled out all the stops to make education work in the midst of crisis.
He started by figuring out what learning modality is best fit for the students – is it online, offline, modular, and blended learning? He checked the internet access of students. If a student does not have at least an internet speed of 3mpbs, he or she will have to do the offline learning modality. They will receive physical copies of modules and worksheets, and every week, the teachers will collect their completed assignments. Students who are struggling can call their teachers for help.
Part of preparation for ‘the new normal’ is online training sessions for the teachers. Principal Rogie wants to make sure the teachers know how to use the ICT materials for conducting lessons. They must know how to use social media apps for communication such as viber, whatsapp, facebook etc. Parents and guardians, too, have to play in the ‘new normal.’ Part of the continuity plan is teaching parents how to create a positive learning environment at home. He is also preparing for the day when
face to face teaching will be allowed. He has already fixed a schedule for the students and teachers to maintain the limited number of people who can enter the classroom.
Amidst the pandemic, Principal Rogie finds a way to stay positive. “This (new normal) is a way for us to embrace the ICT world,” he quips. Despite the challenges, his ideal, devotion and passion for teaching keep him going. “When I see the children become successful, then, I can say that part of their success is from us teachers who molded them.” Principal Rogie is definitely an exemplar of an education champion.