Resumption of Face-to-Face Classes Pushes PH Economy Into Full Recovery

Classrooms that were shuttered for two years finally reopened on August 22. The push for in-person learning is part of the initiatives to recover from economic woes inflicted by the pandemic.

Over 28 million students returned to face-to-face (F2F) classes, as per Manila Times. Initially, 90% of schools nationwide resumed F2F classes, and over 1,000 schools implemented blended learning.

According to the Department of Education (DepEd) spokesman Michael Poa, most public schools will have five-day in-person classes, while those relying on blended learning will have in-person classes three days a week. Schools that haven’t returned to F2F classes have been impacted by natural calamities like typhoons and earthquakes.

Meanwhile, in her first order as the DepEd chief, Vice President Sara Duterte instructed all schools to return to in-person classes on November 2. 

PH Economic Recovery to Grain Traction

Earlier, former Economic Planning Secretary Karl Chua talked about the significance of school reopening in reviving the Philippine economy. In a Bloomberg article, he noted that having the lowest alert level isn’t enough if the goal is full economic recovery. 

Chua forecasted that the Philippines would gain 12 billion pesos weekly once in-person classes have resumed. This, in turn, would benefit the transport and restaurant sectors, as well as other establishments around schools.

Additionally, young parents will have the opportunity to go back to work while their children are at school. This could lead to an increase in the workforce or personal income, which is favorable to various industries, including real estate.

In the 2nd quarter of 2022, the announcement of the return-to-office order fueled property demand in CBD-hosting areas like Makati and Pasig.

Smooth School Reopening 

In Metro Manila, the cities of Makati and Muntinlupa noted a successful first day for the school year 2022-23. According to Inquirer, nearly 80,000 students returned to Makati schools, and strict health protocols were implemented for adequate protection. 

Makati Mayor Abby Binay said they made the right decision to push for 100% face-to-face classes to help students and teachers adapt faster to the new normal environment. 

As part of the city’s compliance with the health protocols set by the Department of Health, every classroom has air purifiers and UV light filters. All schools in the city also have thermal scanners, alcohol dispensers, handwashing facilities, and foot bath mats.

Meanwhile, around 79,000 students had an “overall smooth” first day of class in Muntinlupa. Mayor Ruffy Biazon personally assessed the situation in some schools and noted that everything was orderly and safe. 

The city expects the situation to be smoother in the coming days and the number of students to increase further. The student population in Muntinlupa is over 2% higher than in 2021.

As for Eastern Visayas, no major problems were encountered during the first day of classes. Over 11 million students returned to school, and the peaceful environment was maintained with the help of the police force, as per an Inquirer report.

Victory for Learners and the Economy

The Philippines is one of the last countries to resume in-person learning, significantly affecting both the learners and the economy. This is why the government sees the school reopening as a huge victory for Filipinos. 

Even though DepEd anticipates challenges for this school year, the agency will continue to work with other stakeholders, government bodies, and local government units to address these. 

Included in the efforts to achieve economic growth is the reintroduction of F2F classes. Educational institutions are seen as economic hubs. They give rise to transportation services and lodging for students who come from different provinces. Small entrepreneurs who own food stalls, sari-sari stores, and book outlets are also expected to benefit from the reopening of schools. 

The full resumption of F2F classes by November is considered a step towards normalcy and a revitalized economy. A year without in-person learning would mean 11 trillion pesos of productivity loss for the Philippines, as per Chua. 

For more news and updates on the real estate market, view our previous journal here

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