Glitches, tech difficulties mar DepEd’s nat’l school readiness program launch

The anticipated school readiness program launching of the Department of Education (DepEd) Monday was marred by glitches, power interruption, and other technical difficulties.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones (Merlina Malipot / MANILA BULLETIN)

Initially, DepEd spokesperson Nepomuceno Malaluan said that there were problems with the audio and communications. “While there are still attempts to correct it but it has become clear it is difficult to be resolved and we may now have to announce the rescheduling of the kick-off event,” he said. However, the virtual launch of the program -- which was supposed to start at 8:45 a.m. -- pushed through after two hours.

To give the public a better understanding of these preparations and new procedures ahead of the school year, DepEd held a national kick off of its “Handang Isip, Handa Bukas” school readiness program. It also featured various schools showcasing localized implementation of the Basic Education-Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP).

DepEd officials led by Education Secretary Leonor Briones also discussed the preparations being done by the agency and schools to guide teachers, parents, and students in the conduct of basic education in the New Normal.

The program was livestreamed on DepEd Facebook pages, and government TV channels PTV and IBC-13 as well as regional local channels that have partnered with the department for distance learning.

Amid calls to postpone this school year’s opening to a later date, Briones said that classes will start on Aug. 24 as scheduled and expressed confidence that the blended/distance learning approach “will work” despite challenges.

In an online press briefing, Briones said that the “Aug. 24 has always been there, the date was never changed” since it was already adopted by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and endorsed by President Duterte.

“School opening will be on Aug. 24 but we will use blended learning, there will be no face-to-face classes,” Briones said. DepEd, she explained, also continues to address the concerns related to school opening particularly those that involve alternative learning delivery modalities. “There are challenges but these are not insurmountable challenges,” she added.

Amid reported concerns of teachers on modular learning approach, DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio explained that the reproduction of modules for printing and distribution through digitized form was endorsed to regional and division offices. While some claims of teachers that they have not seen the self-learning modules “may be true,” he noted that the modules “are already available” on the local and school level and the printing is ongoing.

The national kick off of DepEd’s school readiness program also showcased 10 schools of different types nationwide. These schools have presented how they have contextualized the BE-LCP through simulation activities they have conducted in preparation for the opening of classes.