An official of the Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday assured that the agency continues to find ways to address the existing and emerging concerns in the implementation of blended learning this school year but said that Internet connectivity problems are beyond its control.
During the first day of classes on Monday, some teachers and students encountered Internet connection problems for their online classes – one of the alternative learning modalities under distance learning.
DepEd Undersecretary and spokesperson Annalyn Sevilla, in a CNN Philippines interview, noted that the connectivity problem is an issue that is beyond DepEd’s control.
“Internet problem is not just a problem in the Philippines but it’s also a problem globally,” Sevilla said. While DepEd recognizes that having an Internet connection is “one big factor in education but right now,” she noted that DepEd is adopting a blended learning approach this year.
“DepEd cannot address the Internet problem. What we can do is to move on,” Sevilla said. “We have to do something and we need to have an alternative while they’re working on the Internet connection,” she added.
Sevilla said that DepEd acknowledges that slow Internet connection is indeed a problem “but for education, we need to continue and we need to do something that we can do, and that’s the modular approach.”
She said that the opening of the new school year amid the COVID-19 pandemic is a huge challenge not only for DepEd but for all education stakeholders.
“The learning delivery modality is really a big shift from the face-to-face that we were used to,” Sevilla said.
Unlike in private schools where classes might be strictly or fully online, Sevilla said that there are alternative learning modalities in public schools. “We have prepared the modules so if there are Internet problems, they can use these,” she added.
In the public education system, Sevilla said that “students and parents know what to do when there’s a problem in the Internet connection.” She explained that students and teachers have a weekly learning plan and they have modules with them already.
“The module is a self learning tool and the learners have to do these on their own – whether there’s internet or none,” Sevilla said.
Sevilla noted that many students in public schools have chosen modules so the problem in digital or Internet is a “holistic problem.” Thus, an approach wherein the government and other sectors can work together, is needed.
Based on the result of the Learner Enrollment Survey Form (LESF), Sevilla said that about 85 percent of the enrollees chose the modular, less than 10 percent chose online; and the remaining 5 percent chose television and radio-based instruction.