Robredo pushes for limited face-to-face learning in areas with low COVID-19 cases

Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to reconsider the implementation of limited face-to-face classes in areas where there is very low transmission of COVID-19. 

Vice President Leni Robredo (OVP / MANILA BULLETIN)

Robredo, in a Special Episode of “Basta Batas” program shown on Facebook, said the distance/ blended approach of DepEd should not be a “onesize-fits-all” policy since the risk reduction assessments vary in many areas. 

“Sa blended learning, baka hindi naman kailangan lahat (Blended learning does not have to apply to all),” Robredo said citing budget concerns especially on the printing of Self-Learning Modules (SLMs). 

Robredo noted that the budget of DepEd "is not enough” to respond to the needs of the education system, more so now that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the country to shift into alternative learning delivery modalities. 

“Sana ginagamit yung data available sa mga desisyon (I hope the data available will be used in making decisions),” Robredo said. 

DepEd, she added, has its own risk assessment team to know the situation on the ground, especially in terms of COVID19 local transmissions. 

There will be no face-to-face classes this school year until a vaccine has been found. 

To ensure learning continuity, DepEd came up with its Basic Education-Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP) as a response to the disruptions in education brought by COVID-19. 

In the BE-LCP, a distance learning approach will be used this school year. DepEd said that modular learning, particularly printed modules, is most preferred by students and parents. Given this, its regional offices have been working on printed modules ahead of the Oct. 5 school opening amid issues on availability of resources and manpower. 

Instead of using a big chunk of budget for printed modular learning, Robredo said that DepEd might want to consider the implementation of limited face-to-face classes to make “better use” of the resources available.

“Sa modular, sobrang gastos sa printing at sabi ng DepEd, pwede pang mag-share ang estudyante kasi baka magkulang (In modular, printing is so expensive and DepEd said that students may share the modules because there might not be enough for everyone),” Robredo said. 

She said that in a place with very low transmission, such as in coastal areas, limited face-to-face classes will be more ideal compared to modular learning. “Baka pwedeng limited face-to-face dito sa mga areas with low local transmission,” she added. 

Aside from the issues on printed modules, limited face-to-face learning will also address the concerns of parents and students on distance learning. 

“May mga magulang na walang capacity magturo kasi sila din may kani-kaniyang issues na kailangan harapin (There are parents who do not have the capacity to teach because they have their own issues to attend to),” she said. 

If students will have difficulties in learning because of the distance learning approach, Robredo expressed concern that there will be “inter-generational effects” that will be harder to address later on.