Continuity despite pandemic

Continuity despite pandemic

DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones: “This is a celebration, this is a declaration of victory. A declaration of continuity of education whatever challenges we are facing. Education will continue, and [our] children will continue learning, and [our] parents will continue supporting us.”

After two postponements on the opening of School Year 2020-2021 this semester, public schools nationwide will formally welcome new and returning students on what has been declared both a celebration and a victory.

On Monday, more than 24 million enrolees – 22.31 million students from public schools – will have the opportunity to participate in DepEd’s welcome of School Year 2020-2021 through its National School Opening Day Program.

DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones, who will give an inspirational message on Monday, has told a news briefing: “This is a celebration, this is a declaration of victory. A declaration of continuity of education whatever challenges we are facing. Education will continue, and [our] children will continue learning, and [our] parents will continue supporting us.

“Our government, our teachers, all of us are involved in this effort and this will be the biggest victory of all at this time of the pandemic.”

DepEd’s executive committee members and service and bureau directors will be in full force on the ground and are scheduled to give live updates on the distance learning during the first day of classes in the different field offices or schools they will visit.

We hope previous reports that some teachers did not have copies of the modules weeks before the original date of the school opening had been addressed.

Panels related to the opening of classes and the Basic Education-Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP) will also be featured, including Oplan Balik Eskwela (OBE), Health and Safety Protocols, and Education Continuity.

The OBE panel shall be led by Undersecretaries Jesus Lorenzo Mateo and Revsee Escobedo, with regional directors Wilfredo Cabral (Calabarzon), Ramir Uytico (Region 8), and Arturo Bayocot (Region 10) set to give field updates.

Undersecretary for Administration and DepEd Task Force COVID-19 chairperson Alain del Pascua, alongside Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service director Ronilda Co, will discuss the Health and Safety protocols in place for the school year together with field officials during the second panel.

Meanwhile, Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio will give updates and clarify confusions on the distance learning while a teacher, a parent, and a learner will participate to share their hopes and experiences on the new normal of learning for the Education Continuity panel.

For the final panel, Briones will be joined by DepEd Undersecretaries and spokespersons Nepomuceno Malaluan and Annalyn Sevilla for the Secretary’s Forum, which will tackle pressing matters of the Department for the school year.

A representative from World Vision and CVIF-Dynamic Learning Program (DLP) will also join the panel to discuss their respective initiatives in partnership with DepEd.

Filipino teachers will also be honored during the program as part of the celebration of World Teachers’ Day and National Teachers’ Month.

The program will be live-streamed at DepEd Philippines and in various partner government institutions and media organizations in social media, DepEd said in a statement released to media before the weekend.

Hopes are high the government has addressed issues that continued to haunt teachers and administrators as they return to their classrooms minus their students in a face-to-face scenario amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Some have asked: Can the government, through the Department of Education, now deliver safe, accessible, and quality education for all students?

Among issues the government was supposed to address was the printing of modules, with experts pointing out that modular learning was the “backbone” of the Department of Education’s distance learning program, given that access to technology has remained a problem for most students.

Other modes of learning like online as well as radio and television broadcasts would supplement the modules.

Learners from private schools, Briones said, reached 2.08 million. She earlier said the migration of learners from private schools to public schools stopped at 398,930 in the past two weeks.

“When COVID-19 struck, we looked for ways by which we could continue the learning process even as we struggle to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all our learners,” she said, adding “We have prepared our teachers, our school leaders, including the parents. But we have not given up on our health standards because these are our primary considerations.”

For 2021, the agency has proposed a P1.1-trillion budget but the DBM only granted a total of P605 billion, including automatic appropriations.

Briones stressed that online learning was part of the blended learning package being implemented by DepEd in basic education, with the online platform DepEd Commons having 9 million subscribers.

Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio said DepEd would produce self-learning modules for 59 percent of the enrolees without Internet access in public schools.

The agency’s estimated funding requirement for self-learning module reproduction is P35 billion but was only given P15 billion under the National Expenditure Program and an additional P5 billion under the unprogrammed funds.

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