By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
In line with its efforts to ensure that learning of all students will continue amid the enhanced community quarantine, the Department of Education (DepEd) announced that its online learning platform can now be used by learners in private schools.
DepEd Commons, which was originally developed for public school learners, is now accessible to students in private schools. “DepEd has made its online learning delivery platform more inclusive as it expanded its features to cater to private school students,” the department said in a statement.
Before making it available to private school learners, DepEd Commons was also made available for the out-of-school learners under the Alternative Learning System (ALS) program.
Starting as an online educational platform supporting alternative learning modalities amid enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period, DepEd Commons expanded its availability to all schools offering basic education starting April.
“Though the country is facing an unprecedented situation, we in DepEd are focused to fulfill our primary mandate of instilling quality basic education to our Filipino learners,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said. “We are eager to push boundaries and explore new paths so that education can still continue at the confines of our homes,” she added.
Briones also pointed out that welcoming private school learners to DepEd Commons is a “good example” of the constitutional provision on the complementarity of public and private education.
Meanwhile, DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio noted that the expansion of the platform to ALS and private school learners is a “significant step” in making sure that learning is not hampered by any sorts of emergencies and ensuring continuity of education.
“We look forward to this platform being utilized for an expanded Alternative Delivery Mode (ADM) implementation in this era of the new normal,” San Antonio said.
Aside from learners in the formal education system, DepEd Commons has populated its content with relevant lessons for the ALS program. Currently, the Open Educational Resources (OER) and teacher-made enrichment activities on the online educational platform has reached to around 4 million unique users under the watch of Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua.
With this initiative, Pascua hopes private schools can also contribute to the development of OERs, which can be used as supplementary instructional tools that are accessible either online or downloaded for availability offline.
“As we had overwhelming support from learners, teachers and parents, we urge the private schools to do their share in transforming our platform by contributing meaningful learning experiences to all kinds of learners,” Pascua said. “With your help, our ICT [Information and Communications Technology] Service will continue to innovate and improve this exciting project,” he added.
During this crisis where face-to-face instruction is impossible although the online platform is given as an option only for those who have access to internet and equipment such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers, DepEd “highly encourages” the use of DepEd Commons among learners and teachers.#