DepEd to Reopen Classes on August 24

By Charlene Roxas, UN SDSN Youth Philippines Volunteer | Published on August 5, 2020 1:41:14 PM

Amid the ballooning Covid-19 cases in the country, Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor M. Briones remains firm that “education must continue!” by affirming classes to open on August 24 in response to the recently signed Republic Act 11480.

RA 11480, also known as “An Act to Lengthen The School Calendar From Two Hundred (200) Days To Not More Than Two Hundred Twenty (220) Class Days”, states that schools shall start on the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August.

After gaining the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF) approval on Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP) last May, DepEd is on a roll to promote distance learning across the country.

BE-LCP is a modality that aims to make learning possible for teachers and learners who are remote from each other. It also comes in different types: Modular Distance Learning (MDL), Online Distance Learning (ODL), Television (TV)/Radio-Based Instruction, Blended and Homeschooling.

Using the Learner Enrollment and Survey Form (LESF) — an automated enrollment tool developed to capture the basic profile of learners as well as to gauge the readiness of a household for distance education through surveys intended for the learners’ parents - DepEd seeks to help the schools in designing their learning continuity plan and to determine the budget requirements for learning resources.

In a statement released by DepEd, LESF data identified MDL as the preferred modular among learners’ parents—garnering 8.8M votes; while Blended at 3.9M, ODL at 3.8M, Educational TV at 1.4 M and Radio at 900K. Around half a million preferred other modalities.

While DepEd will start their dry run for modular learning in the first week of August, Chairman of the Senate committee on basic education Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian encourages Local Government Units (LGUs) to initiate their own dry runs of BE- LCP.

With internet connectivity a persisting challenge for learners, he suggested LGUs utilize the distribution of learning materials. He also set the dry run in Navotas as an example, where boxes containing modules, activity sheets, textbooks, and school supplies were distributed.

In other provinces, dry runs are also underway; with Masbate making use of Microsoft Teams and Google Classroom as online modalities; and Pampanga piloting a radio-based instruction for grade school learners

Whereas other LGUs conducted blended learning for their dry runs, Sen. Gatchalian reiterated the importance of understanding and establishing the context on how they implement the LCP—in hopes of exchanging their best practices through these initiatives.

For learners with special needs, DepEd Region II Director Dr. Estela Carino mentioned that aside from modules, they will use video sessions as learning media, and they will assign teachers who will guide them through these sessions.

As training programs conducted by National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP), DepEd and non-DepEd Learning Service Providers proceed, DepEd released a memo advising teachers and non-teaching personnel to continue working from home. DepEd also provided alternative work arrangements that can be adopted by schools and community learning centers.

With less than a month away from the resumption of classes, DepEd announced on July 29 that out of the 27 million students nationwide, 22,271,683 students from Kindergarten to Grade 12, including Alternative Learning System (ALS) and non-graded learners with disabilities, have enrolled for school year 2020-2021.

The data they released also showed that more than 20M students enrolled in public schools—a whopping 92.4% of the enrollees from last school year. Private schools paled in comparison—with just 1.3M enrollees that is at 31.4% of SY 2019. Almost 400K students also transferred from private to public schools.

Targeting an 80% of last school year’s enrollment rate, DepEd marginally exceeded their goal at 80.1%. Still, they are expecting the numbers to increase as further reports from LESF comes in.

DepEd expressed their gratitude to all parents who participated in the survey. Although only accessible online, they launched a weekly parenting series on Facebook hoping that it will assist and support the learners’ parents and guardians.


Graphic by:
Czarina Kinkito
Volunteer, Data Presentor
UN SDSN Youth Philippines