According to DepEd Order No. 012, s. 2021, which contains the changes for school year 2020-2021, the agency needed to extend the calendar to address “learning gaps” and give time to teachers to adjust to the “different learning delivery modalities.”
“There has been an identified need to address learning gaps in order to meet the required essential learning competencies,” said Education Secretary Leonor Briones in the order released Tuesday, March 2.
“These learning gaps are attributable to reduced academic opportunities at home and substantial loss of live contact with teachers,” she added.
From March 1 to 12, schools should conduct “intervention and remediation activities” for learners, based on the results of the different types of assessment administered in the past two quarters. These activities will be prepared by teachers and indicated in the two-week home learning plan to be given to students.
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Teachers will also attend “a professional development program through an In-Service Training organized by the school or other relevant units of DepEd.” This will be from March 15 to 19.
Because of the additional activities and programs, the third quarter will be moved to March 22 to May 15, while the fourth quarter is scheduled on May 17 to July 10. These changes will be applied to all public elementary and high schools in the Philippines.
The DepEd has also withdrawn a proposal that aimed to shorten the summer break from two months to two weeks after it received criticism on social media.
Last month, it first considered the idea to “balance out the prolonged suspension of face-to-face classes,” reports Candy Magazine. It was also meant to give students more time to finish school requirements.
“We are very careful in calibrating itong bakayasyon. Kasi nakabakasyon na sila ng anim na buwan, magdagdag na naman tayo ng bakasyon,” Secretary Briones said in a report by CNN Philippines.
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However, many expressed their disappointment on social media, saying that the shift to online classes have already caused “elevated levels of burnout” to students, parents, and teachers. Teachers and youth groups also protested the shortened break, saying an extension would not help solve the challenges posed by distance learning.
DepEd has yet to announce when School Year 2021 to 2022 will start.