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Coronavirus

Remote Learning Begins in COVID-Hit Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — Grade and high school students in the Philippines have started classes at home after the pandemic forced remote-learning onto an educational system already struggling to fund schools.

The shift to distance-learning that began Monday has been a logistical nightmare for the poverty-stricken Southeast Asian country that has long lacked enough classrooms, teachers and educational equipment. Nearly 25 million students enrolled this year in mostly 47,000 public schools nationwide that would have to be replicated in homes and enlist the help of parents and guardians as co-teachers.

A majority of families, especially from poor and rural communities, opted to use government-provided digital or printed learning materials, which students would read at home with the guidance of their elders before carrying out specified activities. Most lacked computers and reliable internet connections. Teachers could answer questions by telephone.

The rest of the families preferred for their children to get lessons online or through regional radio and TV educational broadcasts.

President Rodrigo Duterte has said school classes should resume only when a COVID-19 vaccine has been made available.

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