DepEd hopes Oct. 5 to be ‘final adjustment’ of school opening

With officials and teachers—both at the national and local levels— working almost non-stop to ensure that preparations for the start of classes will be in place, Education Secretary Leonor Briones expressed optimism that the Oct. 5 school opening schedule will no longer be moved.

“We trust that this is the final adjustment of the school opening,” Briones said in a recent press conference. Originally, the school opening was scheduled on Aug. 24 but was deferred upon the instruction of President Duterte.

While the education of millions of students was further delayed, Briones said that moving the school opening to October has given DepEd elbow room to address some issues related to distance learning - especially concerning alternative learning delivery modalities.

“We will use this time to make the necessary adjustments, look after our school and education stakeholders, and ensure that all preparations have been made for the successful opening of classes for School Year 2020-2021,” Briones said.

Weeks before the school opening, DepEd continued to strengthen its preparations for distance learning. DepEd is addressing the challenges faced by teachers through the ongoing National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP) transformation which is also set to provide interventions for schools throughout the school year.

DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said that schools were asked to conduct self-readiness assessments before the start of the school year. Those who have rated themselves below 50 percent will receive necessary assistance such as professional development training and physical and psychosocial support. These training programs have already begun and are set to continue for the rest of school year.

Dry-run simulations for blended learning and reproduction of printed modules are also progressing steadily.

The printing of self-learning modules (SLMs) has been the utmost priority of the DepEd - especially with modular learning being the preferred learning modality across different regions. 

DepEd said that most regions such as Region I, Region IV-A, and Metro Manila are already at the advanced stage of preparing these modules, with 80-100 percent of SLMs already printed. Other regions are also making good progress, with only four out of over 200 School Division Offices (SDOs) having a completion rate below 25 percent.

Dry run simulations have also been ongoing for the past several months. The dry runs determine areas of improvement and best practices when it comes to implementing the learning delivery modalities.

Weeks before the formal school opening, Briones said that DepEd continues to collaborate with other education stakeholders to make the transition into distance learning smoother. 

DepEd also assures the academic community that it will keep identifying the needs of each school so these can be addressed before the classes officially start.