Uneven internet speeds could force public schools to make online learning "asynchronous," at least during the first quarter grading period, the Department of Education told a Senate hearing on Wednesday, September 16, 2020.
"Asynchronous" means learning does not occur in the same place or at the same time. Learning materials, for example, are distributed online, but the learners don't have to read them at the same time during a single online session. They can use materials separately and reconvene online at specified times.
"It will not be pure online as the private schools can do, but even a component of the blended learning with asynchronous online will be very helpful," Education Usec. Nepomuceno Malaluan said.
Aside from connection reliability issues, DepEd will also consider parents' preference on how online classes will be conducted, he said. The school year will start on October 5. Tablets distributed by local governments could be used to download and store DepEd modules, he said.
"Those who have invested in digital technologies have found na wala din talagang connectivity for their constituents right now," Sen. Pia Cayetano said.
The average internet speed in the Philippines ranges from 3-7 Mbps, compared to 55 Mbps in neighboring countries, according to government data from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
The DepEd said it expects 15 million learners to use their parents' personal devices for online learning.