In-Person Course to Push Economic Growth Further: NEDA

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A teacher checks the temperature of students before starting their classes at Jose Magsaysay Elementary School (JMES) in Makati City on March 30, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Full resumption of face-to-face classes could push the economy to reach its full potential, outgoing Secretary of Socio-Economic Planning and Director General of the National Economic and Development Authority Karl Chua said on Tuesday.

He said better-than-expected gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 8.3% in the first quarter could have been higher if more face-to-face classes had been introduced.

At least 50% of the population is under 24 and 40% under 21, he said, and keeping them at home means restricting economic activity while decreasing the efficiency of learning.

“In other words, 40% of the economy, or the population, is in school, and that’s a big driver of economic activity. If you keep them at home, even if they learn at home, it doesn’t give them the best learning experience,”

“In the United States, online learning is only half as good. If there is no physical learning, then all the establishments around the school, the dorms, the cafeteria, the “lahat sila walang activity. That’s why our economic growth is not yet reaching its original potential. So the marami talagang benefits,” Chua said.

The implementation of education rules will rest with the new secretary of the Ministry of Education, Chua said.

Presumed President Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr announced earlier that he had chosen Vice President Sara Duterte to lead the Deped.

The face-to-face pilot courses have so far been a “huge success”, Chua said, adding that they could be replicated.

Chua also said lowering mobility restrictions would boost economic activities. Currently, around 20% of the country is still under Alert Level 2 due to low vaccination levels.

Chua said earlier that he had spoken with the new socio-economic planning secretary, Arsenio Balisacan, who was chosen by Marcos Jr.



– with reporting by Warren De Guzman, ABS-CBN News

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