Parents are in anxious mode as the government announced that the school year 2020 will still push through in spite of the threat of the Covid-19 virus. However, the President retracted this and said he would not let kids go to school physically until a vaccine is found,
Despite this, a lot of school, private and public are announcing that they are now accepting enrollment for the school year 2020. Because of this parents are opting to skip enrolling their children this school opening as they would rather have their kids alive than sacrifice their life for a year of academics learning.
However, last Thursday, May 28, 2020, in a surprise broadcast from the government, the Education Secretary Leonor Mirasol Magtolis-Briones laid out the plans of the Education Department with regards to the the Opening of Classes during the 2020 Pandemic in the Philippines , assuring parents, students and educators safety of everyone. She said these plans offer opportunities for students to continue their studies and their learnings.
Here’s the complete transcript of what Secretary Briones said to the President during the IATF broadcast last Thursday:
“We are here from the DepEd to assure you that we are one with you in your uncompromising stand on the matter of the health and of the safety of our learners and our teachers.
You said “I will not allow the opening of classes na dikit dikit ang mga bata. Para sa akin bakuna muna bago andyan ang bakuna, ok na.” “We are saying because there is confusion and anxiety among Filipinos’ families especially the parents. We are here to state that we are one with you Mr. President, in this non-negotiable commitment.
It is the first and the most important principle when we worked out our learning community plan with all the details we stated this also. The first and foremost concern is the health and safety of all learners and our teachers.
Mr. President, there has been confusion among our people who associate the opening of school with what we describe as face to face classes. Where we are used to learners, we are used to teachers facing each other and we are used to children going to school physically.
But we are saying that there will be no face to face classes and sessions until we are assured of the safety of our children and our teachers.
However we also believe, Mr. President, that we can provide learning opportunities to our students without necessarily requiring them to go to school. And this we can do through what is described as blended and distant learning.
Mr. President this is not a new thing. We have many universities and schools which offer distant learning in many ways. We now call it “blended learning” because various approaches which are adjusted to the actual situation of the communities will be applied.
But these are all, Mr. President, consistent with your preference that we should not be physically sending our children to school until it is safe to do so.”
So what is this blended learning modalities that the education department is proposing for the upcoming school opening. Here they are:
Printed Materials for Distribution
For those who don’t have internet connections and computers at home:
The government will be providing printed materials which will be delivered to the homes of the students through the Local Governments Baranggay offices. These materials can also be picked up also by their parents at designated places within coordinating schedules. The education department will be working very closely with the barangays and the local governments on this matter.
Online Learning Platform also known as DepEd Commons:
Sec. Briones revealed that at the moment there is over 7 million subscribers to this online learning platform of the Department of Education wherein lessons, homework, quizzes, tips to learners and to teachers are all in the DepEd commons and are accessible even to the parents. With this module, parents who are abroad and who are monitoring what is happening to their children can also go to the DepEd Commons and check on how their children are doing.
“So yung printed modules Mr President, we have a description of what it entails and then also on the matter of online, ito yung popular talaga, it is gaining popularity, online distance learning. With already seven million subscriibers, and we assume here is that they have access to interenet,”Briones said.
Television and Radio
For those who have no connectivity and printed materials available immediately, televised or radio broadcast education will be used:
Those homes which do not necessarily have connectivity may have television and the most and the best used approach of course is is radio based instructions.
“Kasi ang television is 1950s, 60s, radios have been around since the 1800s when it was first invented. And we know that two world wars were won through radio messages and not necessarily computers and so on.” Sec. Briones expounded.
She said 15 percent of television time — this is provided by law — should be dedicated to programs designed for children. So there are already existing educational programs on television stations. So what we need to do is to utilize these programs to transmit our curricula. And we are working out how to do this.
Briones said the Presidential Communications Office PCOO is volunteering its TV facilities and also IBC 13 which is radio
for the utilization of lessons through radio and television. Radio and television for those who don’t have access to a computer.
“Now radio based instruction is quite popular, Mr. President because right now municipalities are volunteering.
Usually municipalities have their radio stations. Cities have radio stations. There are local radio stations. And big networks also have radio stations. And many of them have lessons which.. yung tawag nyun is “schools of the air“.
The education secretary also said religious groups give lessons in agriculture, lessons in whatever sciences, over the air because ,: alam nila not everybody has access to television or online computers.
So ito yung pinaka ancient, pinakamatandang paraan for teaching as an alternative to face to face.
The regions are different from each other. Some regions have many islands. Some regions have many mountains. Some regions have interconnectvity and so on and so forth. So what our regions are now doing is to translate our curriculum from … currriculum for lecture… the teacher lectures the children for long periods of time. It has to be translated one into digital modes sa platforms natin, into television programs because children have to be taught in a different way. Iba yung effect ng televisions programs because their attention span can be very brief as well. And then also convert them into radio scripts. So this is where much of the work is being concentrated.
The education secretary also addressed the lack of or unavailability of laptops and computers of the educators/ teachers.
“We made a survey Mr. President, of teachers, more than about 788 thousand of them to find out who don’t have laptops or desktops in their homes. More than 80 percent of them– nearly 700 thousand — have laptops and desktops in their homes. Because teachers acquire these for various uses, they have family members abroad or friends, etc etc. So this is a very very popular mechanism for dispensing education.”
I stan all these plan she enumerated as this is utilizing existing ways of communication without necessarily requiring our children to go to school. So they can still go to school, they can still study. Teachers can monitor them so as well as their parents. Because we are now shifting to less physical face to face classes, but education will continue.
The President said he will support this plan of the education department and will shift over some budget just to enforce this for the school opening during the pandemic.