The Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday said that the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) may affect opening preparations of schools under these areas – especially in terms of reproduction and distribution of modules.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, during the online press conference for its “Handang Isip, Handa Bukas” school readiness program, said that the MECQ has an impact on school opening preparations especially in terms of logistics. The affected schools, she said, may be given additional time or allowance to adjust their activities if printing of modules will be delayed due to certain restrictions and limitations during the two-week quarantine. “We understand their situation and we will give them allowance if they don’t finish the modules on time,” she added.
Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said that “certain adjustments” can be made for schools whose opening preparations are hampered by the MECQ – especially if the government decides to extend it.
MECQ is enforced in Metro Manila and four other provinces – Rizal, Bulacan, Laguna and Cavite – from August 4 to August 18 in an effort to curb the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country.
Coincidentally, these areas are under the regions that have the highest number of enrollment for the upcoming school year to start on August 24. Based on national enrollment data as of August 10, Region IV-A (Calabarzon) has 3.11 million enrollees; NCR has 2.37 million and Region III (Central Luzon) with 2.37 million.
Overall, there are 23.01 million students enrolled for School Year 2020-2021. Of this number, 21.4 million students enrolled in public schools and 1.53 million in private schools.
If ever the printing of modules is delayed, DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio said that schools and division offices have been given authority to use their locally developed Self-Learning Modules (SLMs).
Alternatively, San Antonio said that the textbooks – mapped with Most Essential Learning Competencies (MELCs) – can be used with Activity Sheets and Weekly Learning Plans. “These can be sufficient substitutes for SLMs [so] learning can still continue,” he added.
In NCR, for instance, DepEd said that not all schools or divisions will rely on printed modules. “Some schools will be using modified blended learning wherein it is a combination of printed modules and online platform,” said NCR Regional Director Malcolm Garma. He added that despite the current situation, printing of modules continues and “most of them will be ready by this week or until next week.”
Meanwhile, Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla assured that there is funding provided for the printing of modules amid reports that some teachers are spending their own money for module reproduction.
“There’s P9-billion national funding which has been downloaded already to regions and school division offices,” Sevilla said. Some other funding sources also come from the Special Education Fund (SEF) contributions and Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) at school level.