By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) has started conducting a survey to “better inform its policies and decisions” on the opening of classes for School Year (SY) 2020-2021.
Department of Education (MANILA BULLETIN)
“As part of the government's efforts to contain and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the country has been put on varying levels of quarantine and has established stringent social distancing measures,” DepEd said.
DepEd noted that these efforts - as well as other government interventions necessary in the management of COVID-19 - are expected to have “implications on the opening of classes” for the coming school year. Given this, DepEd rolled out a survey to get feedback from stakeholders - particularly school personnel, parents, and learners from both public and private schools.
“DepEd values the consultation and involvement of its stakeholders in the decision-making process, particularly those who will be significantly affected by the decision/s relative to the opening of classes,” the agency explained.
Undersecretary and Spokesperson Annalyn Sevilla told the Manila Bulletin that the survey has “no deadline or timeline” as there are several limitations such as Internet connectivity and influx of respondents - among others.
Sevilla also noted the time needed to complete analysis and use of results in time for Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) presentation. “We need to reach an acceptable sample rate,” she explained. “We want to encourage consultative engagement hence we don’t want any pressure for respondents to be concerned about deadline to accomplish,” she added.
Your Voice Matters
In survey, the respondents are classified into School Personnel (teachers, principals, registrars and others), Learner, and Parent/Guardian. They will be asked to key in pieces of information such as the region/city or municipality they belong to; gender; and where they work or study - either in private or public schools or Alternative Learning System (ALS).
Respondents will also be asked when do they think should the classes for SY 2020-2021. The time frame given include: Sometime within June 1 to June 15; Sometime within June 16 to June 30; Sometime within July 1 to July 15; Sometime within July 16 to July 31; Sometime within August 1 to August 15; Sometime within August 16 to August 31; and Others.
The respondents will also be asked if they are “willing to physically report to school/send your child to school with strict observance of social distancing” and if they are “okay with having your lessons and class activities online, television, or radio.”
Respondents are also asked if they agree to “having Saturday classes to be able to make up for any delay in school opening, and to allow a compressed school year” as well as their “main concerns about education and the opening of classes because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
DepEd assured that all information shall be used by the agency for “legitimate purposes, specifically as inputs in the discussion on the opening of classes” and shall be processed by authorized personnel in accordance with the Data Privacy Policies of the department.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, in an earlier phone interview, said that DepEd has “yet to decide” whether to move the school opening schedule or not. However, she assured that contingency plans - such as the learning continuity plan for students - are being ironed out since “education must continue even in emergencies.”
DepEd, Briones said, will have to come up with various plans or scenarios since the current situation is still “fluid and uncertain.” While community quarantines declared not only in Luzon but also in various parts of the country, she underscored the need for a “harmonized action plan.”
Due to the recent COVID-19 developments in the country, Briones admitted that there are a lot of “uncertainties” when it comes to school opening - mainly on the possible methods of teaching and other learning interventions if face-to-face interaction is not possible.
The feedback coming from the parents, teachers and students themselves, Briones said, will be very “crucial” in policy-making in case the opening of classes gets pushed back or adjusted due to the continued threat of COVID-19.