The Department of Education (DepEd) would need a whopping P7 billion alone for Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) if self-learning modules (SLM) are to be tapped for all basic education students this coming school year.
DepEd Region 2 Director Estella Cariño disclosed this to members of the House Committee on North Luzon Growth Quadrangle in a virtual meeting last July 9 as the congressmen tried to gauge the agency’s readiness for school year 2020-21.
“I would just like to mention that in Region 2, if we do like to give all our learners SLM which are printed, we need P7-billion plus,” Cariño told the panel chaired by Pangasinan Rep. Ramon Guico III.
Cariño said the printed materials translate to P4,500 in cost for each learner.
Region 2, which is an administrative region in the Philippines, is composed of the Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino. The grouping sits on the northeastern section of Luzon.
Classes are scheduled to reopen on Aug. 24 under the so-called “new normal” brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The question always asked would be, what would you do in areas with no electricity, no Internet, and no gadgets at all? The only modality possible in areas that are remote and have nothing as all is the use of distance learning (via) printed self-learning modules,” Cariño said during her presentation.
“The majority of our schools will be using this because even if there’s Internet, sometimes it is not stable. Some of our schools will also be using radio or TV-based instruction, but this is for selected competencies,” she said.
Citing an example, she said that K-to-3 (Kindergarten to Grade 3) would need to have radio or TV-based instruction on top of having SLM since they may not be able to read the printed materials yet.
Cariño said that other modalities may be used in order to cut down or avoid the cost for the printed materials.
“We have the modular offline using USB (thumb drives). All the SLM will be placed in the USB and this will be given to our learners every quarter, which will be used by them on their tablets or laptops. (This) will decrease the amount needed for the printed modules because printing the modules will cost at least P4,500 per learner,” she said.
She said video or audio instructions made by teachers can also be saved on these thumb drives.
The DepEd official, who joined the meeting via Zoom, also showed the lawmakers a sample of a portable radio with USB port that the students may use. The particular radio model costs P650.
Cariño bared that Region 2 is also preparing for the possible conduct of face-to-face classes, in case President Duterte gives the green light for such.