“We will comply with the President’s directive to postpone face-to-face classes until a vaccine is available,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said in a statement released on Monday, June 8.
The DepEd’s statement was a response to the president’s taped address, which aired on Friday, June 5. In his address, President Duterte reiterated his suggestion that there should be no classes until a vaccine against COVID-19 has been developed and made available to learners.
The president, in the same taped address, also expressed doubt if the country’s education system is ready for distance and blended learning. He, however, also said he supports the Education Department’s efforts to continue the student’s education amid the pandemic.
“Indeed, it is a challenging task for us at the Department of Education to prepare our schools in a different setup,” Briones said. “But we are committed to our duty to make education available and thriving, even in the most difficult time,” she added.
Since June 1, the DepEd has been conducting the month-long enrollment for the school year 2020-2021. According to their data, there are 6.4 million students who have already enrolled for this school year, which officially opens on August 24.
As traditional learning is forbidden, the DepEd will be using a blended learning approach to teaching students. Blended learning involves using other platforms aside from the conventional classroom setup. These include online portals, radio, television, and printed or digital learning materials.
“The groundwork for blended learning is well underway,” Briones added. She emphasized that radio, television, online and modular learning “are pre-existing methods” that the department has been using “for decades.”
Teachers are now also training to be more adept in using the different available teaching platforms and aid in their professional development. The DepEd is also looking to partner with the private sector to develop and distribute learning resources.
“The Department is fully engaged in readying our operations based on our Basic Education-Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP),” Briones said. She stressed that the learning of Filipino students shouldn’t stop just because of the pandemic.
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DepEd also assured parents that they would regularly provide assessment reports to the public, as they have committed in Congress.