Sen.Cayetano to DepEd: Lay down concrete plans for blended learning in far-flung areas

Published June 26, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Hannah L. Torregoza

The Department of Education (DepEd) should lay down specific plans on how it will implement blended learning in basic education especially in far-flung areas where there is limited access to Internet and distance education requirements.

Senate Pia Cayetano  (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senate Pia Cayetano
(Senate of the Philippines / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Senator Pia Cayetano said the DepEd still lacks concrete plans on how it will address the needs of learners in remote areas as the education sector adjusts to the “new normal” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cayetano pointed out that even if the general directive of President Duterte, as recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), is to suspend face-to-face classes until a vaccine for COVID-19 becomes available, the DepEd should be ready with a program addressing the needs of learners in far-flung areas.

“Of course, we will follow the directive. Don’t get me wrong. I am not proposing that we don’t. But I am proposing that you make clear what is needed for other scenarios, like in many far-flung areas,” Cayetano said during Thursday’s hearing of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts, and Culture, chaired by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian.

“I know what the general instructions (of the President) are, but are there going to be exceptions to these rules? Because it’s even harder to deliver distance learning materials for some barangays which have no exposure or may have very limited exposure to the virus,” the senator said.

During the hearing, Cayetano suggested that the DepEd prepare a blended learning method that will include time in school, “provided it is safe and social distancing measures are in place.”

She said school officials should consider proposals “such as having a smaller number of students to attend a few days a week on a rotational basis for interaction with their teachers.”

The senator also said DepEd should exert more effort in clarifying and addressing these special scenarios since they already recognize that the situation exists.

She said the agency should bring this to the attention of decision-making bodies so they can carve out better systems to educate children in areas where distance learning is not easily accessible.

The lawmaker also urged the DepEd to present to Congress more details on its Learning Continuity Plan (LCP) so they can be guided on the possible scenarios should they find it difficult to implement the program.

“I want to see that. I want to know that. Because there are different models… similar to work models… So I want to know the blended learning plan that you have so we can also assess, we can also critique,” Cayetano said.