Amid the criticisms coming from various quarters, the Department of Education (DepEd) assured that it remains “very careful” when it comes to possible changes in the school calendar to ensure that students and teachers will be able to cope with the adjustments under the distance learning set-up.
“We are still discussing matters related to the school calendar,” Briones said in a mix of English and Filipino during a phone interview with Manila Bulletin. “We are looking into the possible implications because we would like to make sure that we remain responsive to the demands of the learners during this transition period,” she added.
Briones said that the key officials of the department meet regularly to get updates on implementation of distance learning amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. “We are aware of the reported challenges and we try to be responsive as much as possible,” she added.
During the meetings with Management and Executive committees, Briones said that one of the topics that is repeatedly discussed is the “demand of learners for academic ease.”
For instance, Briones said that DepEd is being careful when it comes to extending vacation. “The demand of children is academic ease, this is related to the requirements in classes, homework, etcetera,” she said.
“So when I ask the officials, if we extend vacation will it make their assignments easier, because their focus is really the content of the feedback that is given by children relative to the demand for academic ease,” she added.
Briones said that longer vacation may not be very beneficial to children. “We have nearly six months that children did not go to school and there are various studies already showing the effect of this on children,” she added.
Currently, Briones explained that the key officials of DepEd are still discussing what would be most beneficial for learners. “We are very careful in calibrating, especially the vacation, because they have stayed for months in their homes and now they are studying, we are analyzing what can help them in terms of academic ease,” she said.
School Year (SY) 2020-2021 officially opened on Oct. 5. The distance learning approach is currently being implemented through various learning delivery modalities such as modular (printed and offline), online, TV and radio-based instruction and blended learning.
Recognizing the challenges in the new learning system, DepEd directed schools to implement various academic measures. “The thing is to make learning really relevant and ensure that the child will not have difficulties during the transition period,” Briones ended.