Aside from showcasing “best practices and successes” relating to blended/distance learning, a federation of teachers on Wednesday urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to also present "issues and challenges" on the same during the national dry run on August 10.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines, in a virtual press conference, noted the agency should also present the “real” situation in the field - especially problems related to learning delivery modalities under its Basic Education - Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP).
ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio even alleged that what the DepEd is doing during the dry runs and simulations are all “staged just to achieve its desired results.”
Basilio maintained the DepEd is not allowing teachers to do what they would normally do during a specific activity on the actual day of dry run or simulation.
“What’s happening is that instead of using the simulation or dry run as an opportunity to see the problems, DepEd is holding these dry runs to showcase a ‘fake’ scenario when schools are supposedly ready for this opening of classes,” he said.
Teachers from various public schools also shared their experiences during the dry run for blended learning in the conference.
Kristhean Navales, a public school teacher in General Roxas Elementary School in Quezon City, said that the simulation for blended/distance learning in his school was “practiced” - thus, it does not reflect the actual scenario when classes start.
“In the dry run, only 24 students per class participated but the actual number of students that we have per class is 45 to 50 above and one teacher has to handle at least five classes,” he added.
Navales also pointed out, “During the national dry run, DepEd should present all sides and challenges in blended learning such as poor Internet connectivity and lack of time to explain the lessons properly to students - among others."
Myrvene Joy Tesorero, who teaches at Nagpayong Elementary School in Pasig City, also shared the same sentiments.
“What happens in dry runs is not realistic and there are so many challenges that have not been addressed by DepEd,” she said.
Given this, Tesorero urged the agency to listen to the concerns of teachers in the field and recognize their difficulties.
“This is not just a ‘mind over matter’ issue, our problems are not just illusions and what we need is a concrete solution from DepEd,” she added.
Ruby Bernardo, a public school teacher in Sta. Lucia High School in Quezon City, also aired concerns on the accuracy of blended/distance learning dry run results.
“What the dry runs show is that only the schools who have access to technology have greater chances to implement blended learning,” she explained.
Bernardo also noted how teachers are “burdened” by the requirements under the learning continuity plan of DepEd.
“In our school, we will be using the learning management system called ‘Moodle’ which is quite complicated,” she said. “There are teachers who are having a hard time familiarizing themselves with this app because the skills set that they have is not enough and we were only given one week training for this.".
With all these school opening related issues, ACT challenged the government through the DepEd to “revisit and immediately revise its plans” or move the opening of schools to a later date.