Three weeks before the start of classes on August 24, the Department of Education (DepEd) expressed readiness to implement its blended and distance learning approach.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, in a meeting with President Duterte televised on July 31, assured that DepEd is exerting all efforts to ensure that the implementation of alternative learning modalities under the Basic Education – Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP) will be as smooth as possible.
“We can definitely start on August 24 with our blended learning approach,” Briones said in a mix of English and Filipino. She said that in the previous months, schools — under the supervision of the regional directors and DepEd Central Office — have been undertaking various initiatives and activities in line with the adoption of blended/distance learning modalities this School Year (SY) 2020-2021.
“We have been training our teachers for distance learning and our regions, divisions and schools are adapting the learning continuity plan to the conditions of their respective learners and localities,” she added.
As of July 30, Briones said that DepEd has garnered the support of 22.3 million students and their parents/families ready to participate in the conduct of blended and distance learning modalities come August 24.
“This already represents 80.5% of the enrollment in the last school year (SY 2019-2020) and has surpassed the 80% adjusted enrollment target that we submitted to NEDA [National Economic Development Authority],” Briones said.
For the public schools, Briones said that the enrollment of 20.95 million from Kindergarten to Grade 12 already represents 92.8 percent of last enrollment. “This is a clear manifestation of trust among our learners and their parents that DepEd can deliver safe learning opportunities even in the time of COVID-19,” she ended.
Briones said DepEd has also been mobilizing its own funds, local government unit (LGU) support through Special Education Fund (SEF), and support from external partners through “Brigada Eskwela” for the effective implementation of the BE-LCP.
Unless changes are directed by President Duterte or by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), there will be no face-to-face classes when classes start. In low risk areas, limited physical classes might be allowed starting January 2021 but only after a thorough assessment by DepEd and concerned agencies.