MANILA – House minority leader Bienvenido Abante Jr. on Thursday suggested that the Department of Education (DepEd) pilot test the new learning modes, such as distance and online learning, before their full implementation in August.
Abante said while DepEd would be able to continue with classes via alternative modes, the infrastructure and equipment challenges are considerable, as well as the training of teachers required under the new set up.
“Pilot-test these new systems in select areas, so whatever problems that are identified can be addressed before we scale up to the full roll-out of the system,” Abante said.
Abante cited DepEd data showing that only 15.9 million students have been enrolled for K-12 public and private schools, 12 million pupils short of DepEd’s 28-million target. As a consequence, enrollment has been extended to July 15.
He also recommended a pass or fail grading system for the first term of classes as both students and teachers adjust to the new system.
“Given all the adjustments students and teachers must make, it may be prudent to adopt a pass or fail grading system in the first term as everyone adjusts to the new system,” he said.
“May learning curve po ito, kahit para sa magulang (There is a learning curve, even for the parents), so the focus should be on education per se and not the grades of these pupils,” he added.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones said the economic setback brought by the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the lower turnout of enrollees in private schools as compared to public schools.
Data from DepEd show that as of July 1, there are 15,887,467 learners enrolled in public schools and 706,934 in private schools.
“Hindi ito nakapagtataka dahil ang natamaan nang husto ng dagok sa ating ekonomiya ay ang mga private schools, businesses at naaapektuhan ang kapasidad ng mga parents na magpadala ng kanilang mga anak sa (This is not surprising because the private schools, businesses were the first to be affected by the setback in the economy and it also affected the capacity of parents to send their children to) private schools,” Briones said in an online press briefing.
Due to the pandemic, the total number of enrollees for the school year 2020-2021 from public, private, and local colleges and state universities is just 59.81 percent of last year’s 27.7 million enrollees, or at 16,610,703.
Briones clarified that not all classes for the incoming school year will be done online only, saying DepEd provides blended or distance learning modes such as printed or digital modules and television or radio-based instruction.
Briones added face-to-face classes would not take place until it is safe to do so as declared by the Department of Health, IATF, and President Rodrigo Duterte. (PNA)