DepEd pursues major innovations to ensure learning continuity

Published October 30, 2020, 7:16 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

The Department of Education (DepEd) is looking into major innovations that would ensure learning continuity under various circumstances.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones (DepEd / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Education Secretary Leonor Briones, during the 2020 Global Education Meeting Extraordinary Session on Education Post-COVID-19 held Thursday, stressed that learning continuity establishes significant investment for the future.

Given this, Briones said that DepEd is currently pursuing three innovations including technologies for remote learning; reframing the curriculum; and “smartifying” learning spaces and resources.

Aside from utilizing technologies for remote learning, Briones explained that reframing the curriculum is also “necessary to prioritize essential/cross-cutting knowledge, skills, and mindsets, including 21st Century Skills, durable skills, and capacities that can help confront the future.”

Briones also suggested that it is “timely to expand learning environments and resources” in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and with the emergence of virtual and informal spaces.

While there will be equity and quality losses, Briones said that there are “also evident equity and quality gains” – noting that the result will not be one-sided. “Our challenge is to swing it to the side of the gains,” she added.

Meanwhile, Briones also discussed the importance of  DepEd’s approach to learning continuity amid the COVID-19 pandemic. During her virtual speech in the high-level international gathering, she emphasized DepEd’s two-pronged approach to ensure that education will not be defunded during the adjustment and recovery period.

“In the Philippines, our approach has been two-pronged: Emphasize that learning delivery in a safe manner is possible and show that safe learning continuity in the time of COVID-19 constitutes necessary and sound investment for education transformation for the future,” Briones said as a response to how the country is recommitting to education.

Briones noted that the challenge for the education sector is to defend learning continuity since there are sections of society that are predisposed to taking a position that “education can wait.”

With DepEd placed under very challenging circumstances to adjust its operations due to the pandemic, Briones cited the support of various government and private partners at the national and local level to safely open School Year 2020-2021.

“The resumption of learning for our children at this time is no small feat,” Briones said. “It is certainly not easy to reconfigure learning delivery from one based in physical classrooms, to one with a degree of distance learning under various modalities at a scale never done before,” she ended.

Classes officially started on Oct. 5 after two postponements due to the ongoing pandemic. As mandated by President Duterte, the conduct of face-to-face classes is still prohibited – forcing DepEd to implement a distance/blended learning approach through the use of alternative learning delivery modalities such as modular, online, and television or radio-based instruction.