By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
Aside from the actual date of school opening for the coming School Year (SY) 2020-2021, the Department of Education (DepEd) stressed that there are many other considerations that have to be carefully studied by its concerned agencies.
While the biggest consideration of DepEd to date is the actual school opening, initially eyed on August based on its consultations with stakeholders and existing law, DepEd Undersecretary and Spokesperson Annalyn Sevilla said that there are considerations that have to be addressed in relation to the opening of classes amid the public health emergency.
As it develops the Learning Continuity Plan (LCP) as a response to COVID-19 related disruptions, Sevilla noted that the change management aspect is very crucial. This will greatly affect the transition into the new normal.
“We often hear that formal education is the normal education [that] we are aware of and used to have but this new normal may now mean that that we need transition to the online platform [so] even the learning resources have to be adjusted,” she explained.
Aside from learning modalities to be adopted, Sevilla said that there are other considerations when it comes to school opening guidelines such as teacher training as well readjusting budget allocation to respond to emerging needs.
“Not only the teachers which we will prepare and they already have [an] initial [idea] on this, but overall, the timeline is very short,” Sevilla said. “Even if we want to have a specific timeline on school opening, we have to consider a preparatory timeline, not only for our teachers but also in terms of budget. And also, the preparation of our stakeholders on this,” she added.
Sevilla explained that one of the most important aspects of the LCP is the shift and recalibration of DepEd’s budget. “Our budget and has been approved for the 2020 budget is the ‘formal education’ mode,” she said.
Given the current situation, Sevilla said there will be an impact on the contingency plan of DepEd especially on how the agency will respond if there would be cases involving our constituents like teachers and the students. “Responding to these emerging needs and concerns are not included in our budget and that is one that we are studying right now,” she ended.
Based on its initial consultation with key officials nationwide as well as the provision of the law stating that school opening should not be earlier than June but not later than August, DepEd initially announced that it is eyeing the opening of the coming school year sometime in August.
To date, DepEd has yet to announce the school opening schedule for SY 2020-2021 because it will have to submit its proposal and recommendations to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) first. DepEd noted that its decision on school opening and other related matters will depend on the projections of the IATF and the overall health situation in the country amid the pandemic.