ACT says schools, teachers ‘not ready’ for Aug. 24

Less than a month before the school opening on August 24, a federation of teachers alleged that the Department of Education (DepEd) is far from being ready, especially in implementing blended and distance learning.

(Photo courtesy of DepEd / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

To assess the readiness of schools for school opening, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines conducted a rapid assessment of the public school system’s preparedness for August class opening.

The survey was done online from July 18 to July 22 with a total of 1,463 teacher-respondents. It focused on preparedness for blended and distance learning modalities such as online, modular, and TV and radio-based instruction.

 Capacity and resources of the respondents and their schools were also included in the survey. Of the total number of teachers all over the country who responded, the results of the survey showed that 1,430 said their schools are offering classes in the coming school year.

 Respondents were also asked to grade themselves and listed entities in terms of their level of preparedness for the opening of classes, using a grading scale usually applied for assessing students.

“Based on the results of our survey, our teachers from various regions have spoken: ‘we’re not ready for school opening this August’,” ACT Philippines Secretary General Raymond Basilio said.

 As directed by the DepEd, blended and distance learning consisting of modular (printed or digital offline), online, and educational television and radio-based instruction and learning will be used as alternative learning delivery modalities in the absence of face-to-face classes this August.

Citing the results of the survey, ACT said that 98 percent of the respondents said that their schools will be using Modular Distance Learning. However, the respondents pointed out that they “lack of proper guidance and training in producing online modules” and the “difficulty in producing modules” -- with two-thirds of those drafting modules said they are not yet halfway through.

The survey also showed that 9 in 10 teachers reported they have not yet received copies of the digital and printable modules and some five percent noted they are “shelling out funds or soliciting in order to print out the modules.”

Basilio noted that based on ACT’s survey, of those working in schools that are offering classes in August, two-thirds or 67.5 percent said their schools are implementing online distance learning in the coming academic year.

While majority of these teachers have at least a basic knowledge of the most common tools for digital education such as e-mail (70.8 percent), word processor such as MS Word or Google Docs (68.2 percent), presentation software such MS Powerpoint or Google Slides (60.2 percent), and spreadsheet such as MS Excel or Google Sheets (59.6 percent), Basilio said that a “sizable proportion of teachers are not confident of using these tools or have no knowledge of these tools at all, and a shift to online classes may prove to be especially difficult for them.”

 ACT said that 25.6 percent of the respondents said that their schools will be using TV and radio-based distance Learning. “Of teachers in schools implementing TV and radio-based distance learning, 55.5 percent reportedly heard of any plans to provide TV or radio to students, but majority of them do not know whether there are already arrangements with TV and radio stations for distance learning,” the survey showed. Almost all teachers concerned or 97.6 percent have also “yet to receive copies of the materials.”

Schools, ACT said, can have multiple delivery modalities.