DepEd to ensure ‘bearable’ school year for all

Published November 6, 2020, 1:41 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Recognizing the challenges faced by teachers, students, and their parents under the new learning set-up, the Department of Education (DepEd) assured that it will continue to find ways to help ensure that this school year will be “bearable” for all.


“The welfare of our teachers and learners remains to be our priority and we will ensure that School Year 2020-2021 will be bearable for all while still promoting effective learning engagement,” Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones said.

Briones gave this assurance after the DepEd Curriculum and Instruction recommended “academic ease” measures to help both teachers and students adjust under various learning delivery modalities this school year.

DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio, in Memorandum OUCI-2020-307 released on Oct. 30, cited highly-recommended measures to the field units to help ensure “flexibility” in teaching and learning this school year.

The policy, San Antonio said, was issued in response to the request of teacher and student groups to “ease” the components of distance learning implementation. “The measures suggested are expected to enable the learners and learning facilitators to navigate through the challenges of the new normal in the teaching and learning process and make necessary adjustments throughout the school year,” he said.

With many students “overwhelmed” with the tasks they need to accomplish, DepEd noted that among the measures recommended include the reconsideration of time allotment for the completion and submission of activities by the learners. The expansion of mental health/socio-emotional well-being support to teachers, learners, and parents through group wellness sessions was also strongly encouraged.

San Antonio also enjoined teachers and learning support aides (LSAs) to provide “additional support” to households that are experiencing difficulties in accomplishing Self-Learning Modules (SLMs) or Learning Activity Sheets (LAS) independently.

To prevent burnout among students, San Antonio said that for the succeeding quarters, “learning tasks in the SLMs may be streamlined to ensure that activities sufficiently develop learning competencies leading to mastery.”

San Antonio said that the need to adjust the assigned tasks for the students is “anchored on the fact that learners have long been disengaged from academic learning since the onset of the pandemic” last March 2020.

This move was welcomed by the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC), particularly the directive that “teachers should not be burdened on the printing and distribution of modules.”

However, the 30,000-strong group challenged the agency to fully implement policies that are in favor of teachers as well. “No doubt, DepEd has many good policies,” said TDC National Chairperson Benjo Basas. “But the problem with DepEd is it cannot implement the policies that are in favor of teachers, that is why, in the end, the teachers are left to adjust or to suffer,” he added.

For TDC, this newly-issued policy as well as other existing directives will be more effective if these are adhered to by the local DepEd officials on the ground. Basas added that these policies, if fully implemented, will also help teachers focus on their tasks.