By Merlina Hernando Malipot
In preparation for the opening of classes set for the last week of August, the Department of Education (DepEd) has scheduled a month-long enrollment period for students in public schools nationwide from June 1 to June 30. During this period, online enrollment forms will be distributed to prepare for the school opening.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, in a recent virtual public briefing, announced that DepEd has moved the school calendar for School Year (SY) 2020-2021 from
June to August amid the COVID-19 situation in the country.
For public schools nationwide, Briones said “classes are expected to start on August 24 whether virtual or physical” – depending on local situations and overall status of public health in relation to COVID-19 developments.
Incoming Grades 2-6, Grades 8-10, and Grade 12 learners are already “considered pre-registered” but “not officially enrolled” yet based on DepEd Order No. 03, series of 2018, the “Basic Education Enrollment Policy.”
However, DepEd requires all new entrants for kindergarten, Grades 1, 7, and 11 to participate in “Early Registration” held months before the actual opening of the new school year. For SY 2020-2021, the Early Registration started last February 1 and ended on March 6.
DepEd had earlier said that the Early Registration was not among the activities temporarily suspended due to the threat of COVID-19. The Early Registration is compulsory for public schools while optional for private schools.
Aside from incoming kinder and Grades 1, 7 and 11 students, the Early Registration also “seeks to locate, identify and register” out-of-school children and youth in the community who may be characterized as: Living with disability/ies, living in off-grid/far-flung community; a barangay without a school, or a geographically isolated area; displaced due to natural disaster; living in an armed conflict area or area with high level of criminality/drug abuse; having chronic illness or nutritional problem/s; victim of child abuse or economic exploitation; stateless/ undocumented; in conflict with the law; living on the streets; and no longer in school but interested in going back to school.
To be officially enrolled, all learners need to be registered into the Learner Information System (LIS) of DepEd “upon submission of the required supporting documents and the first date of attendance.”
Survey during enrollment period
During enrollment period, DepEd Undersecretary and spokesman lawyer Nepomuceno Malaluan said that a survey will also be conducted by DepEd personnel to assess readiness of learners for flexible learning options (FLOs) or other alternative delivery modes of learning in absence of face-to-face interaction.
Malaluan said that the survey will cover the overall status and condition of learners as well as their respective households. In particular, the survey aims to find out if the learners will have access to various FLOs such as online learning. Through the survey, DepEd aims to determine the students’ preferred modes of learning depending on their existing capacities.
The result of the survey, Malaluan said, will be used as a basis of teachers and school leaders to structure their strategy of delivering education. Aside from online platforms, he assured that DepEd will provide a “menu of learning delivery options” and various materials both online, printed, and digital. “Based on that menu of options and platforms, our field units will decide what will be appropriate for their learners and the context of their areas,” he ended.
Allowance for teachers
Meanwhile, DepEd is set to release a cash allowance of ₱3,500 per classroom teacher by next month.
DepEd Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn Sevilla, in a memorandum dated May 4 addressed to regional directors, schools division superintendents, heads of finance divisions/units, and all others concerned, issued an advisory on the release and payment of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 cash allowance to teachers.
Sevilla said the ₱3,500 cash allowance per classroom teacher will be released for the “purchase of teaching supplies and materials” for the School Year (SY) 2020-2021.
“The ₱3,500 cash allowance shall be released to teachers in June, 2020,” Sevilla said in the memorandum. DepEd Regional Offices (ROs), she added, “must ensure that the allotment shall be released to Schools Division Offices (SDOs) on or before May 15, 2020.”
Sevilla said “it is expected that DepEd ROs and SDOs shall have the cash allocation ready for the payment of the cash allowance” and that such is included in the 2nd Quarter Notice of Cash Allocation and Monthly Disbursement Plan by coordinating with its respective Department of Budget and Management regional offices.
The DepEd Central Office, Sevilla added, is also set to release “separate policy guidelines” on the grant of Cash Allowance to Teachers to “include teaching supplies and materials related to the preparations to the shift to the Learning Continuity Plan” – as among the allowable uses of the cash allowance for teachers.
As as response to the COVID-19 -related disruptions in education, DepEd has developed a Learning Continuity Plan to address emerging concerns in the basic education system – particularly on the conduct of classes and implementation of flexible learning options that would cater to the needs of learners.
Sevilla had earlier said DepEd is reviewing and realigning its own budget to ensure that emerging needs of its personnel – both teaching and non-teaching – as well as the learners will be addressed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.