Issue of June 21, 2020
Mt. Province
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DepEd: No physical class, alternative tech to be used
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

For the new normal on education while the Covid-19 pandemic exists, the Department of Education has suggested counting on old methods if the most advanced technologies do not work for some of the millions of students set to return to school this year.

DepEd Sec. Leonor Briones placed emphasis on the use of alternative technologies like radio, television, and learning modules aside from modern facilities for learners to continue learning effectively even without the usual face-to-face classroom setting during the briefing on the country’s Covid-19 situation with concerned agencies and members of the national interagency task force with Pres. Rodrigo Duterte on June 16.

“What we are suggesting is not really new, because facilities like the radio have been there since the 1800s. What is new is that we are placing the emphasis on these alternative technologies because we agree with you that we should not be allowing our children and our teachers to go to school at this time until it is absolutely safe for them, but still they can continue learning,” Briones told the President.

Briones reiterated on the roadmap DepEd has been preparing since April that is aligned with the President’s firm position that he will not allow face-to-face classes until there is a cure for the Covid-19.

The roadmap includes maximizing the use of television since the law requires that 15 percent of the airtime on TV should be devoted for children.

She said DepEd is negotiating with local radio stations and some telecommunication firms for them to allow the use of its facilities to at least reduce the cost of delivering lessons to students.

Pero kung walang wala talaga: Walang TV, walang cell phone, walang Internet, radio, we are also producing learning modules, the delivery of which could be worked out with local government units. It will be a relay of materials kung talagang hanggang manual lang ang makayanan ng school o ng estudyante,” Briones said.

She said children should not be going out to get the modules. The plan is to work closely with LGUs, through which learning modules could be deposited with the barangays and it should be the parents or a representative from the learner’s family the one picking up the materials. The homework or assigned tasks may be picked by the teachers during a scheduled time of the day.

Briones said alternative learning tools may be used since not all learners have Internet access and have gadgets like cell phones and computers that are Wifi-ready.

Physical enrollment has not been allowed this year. Enrollment for school-year 2020-2021 in public elementary, high school and senior high schools started on June 1 through online where parents of learners filled up an enrollment and survey form. In some schools, submission of documentary requirements is done by drop-off in assigned areas in the schools.

In the enrollment and survey form, the parent or student is asked, among other details, the tools available to them in accessing their lessons or in getting in touch with teachers.

As of June 16, there are 10,654,795 learners nationwide who have enrolled online.

Briones asked the President to allow the agency to continue its operation based on its roadmap, with the target opening of no face-to-face classes on Aug. 24.

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