WATCH: A senior teacher struggles with online classes

As classes open on Monday, October 5, Rappler brings you stories of people struggling to navigate distance learning.

There's 61-year-old Reynaldo Balberde, a public school teacher from Bagong Ilog Elementary School in Pasig City – who doesn’t even know his way around a mobile phone – now has to conduct his classes online. 

Despite his age, he makes an effort to learn how to navigate a virtual classroom, a first in his 40 years of service. Mr. Balberde also invites his students to come over his house if they need to connect to WiFi for their online class. (READ: No student left behind? During pandemic, education 'only for those who can afford')

In Brgy. Caniogan, 40-year-old Tringky Cortez shares how 3 of her 4 children have to connect to their neighbor’s Wi-Fi to attend class. Without a functioning gadget at home, her children had to borrow cellphones from relatives to participate in distance learning.

Despite the struggles of teachers and students on the ground, the Department of Education Secretary declares the opening of classes as a “victory.”

Several youth groups had called for an “academic freeze” of distance learning until January 2021 as issues hound teachers and students with the reopening of schools. Problems include the high cost of gadgets and unstable internet connections. –