When the Philippine government ordered the closure of schools over a year ago due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Department of Education (DepEd) had to make sure that necessary adjustments were in place to ensure that the education of millions of Filipino learners will not be left hanging in the balance.
DepEd knew that was inevitable to shut down schools, suspend face-to-face classes, cancel activities involving teachers and learners but it had to prepare for an opening of a new school year amidst a raging pandemic.
Despite all the challenges, DepEd stood firm that “education must continue” – thus, it was able to formally open the School Year (SY) 2020-2021 last Oct. 5.
“It has been a year since we last interacted physically inside our schools,” DepEd said in a statement issued to the Manila Bulletin on Tuesday, March 16. “Looking back, we overcame numerous unprecedented challenges in education amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” it added.
Citing the “overwhelming support” from its stakeholders, DepEd said that it “managed to open an extraordinary school year and still make learning opportunities available for our learners.” DepEd crafted the Basic Education – Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP) to provide guidance to the department on how to deliver education in this time of crisis while ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of all learners, teachers and personnel of the agency.
Under the BE-LCP, various alternative learning delivery modalities are implemented to ensure that the 26.6 million learners enrolled in public and private schools this SY will continue even when they are at home.
Through a distance learning approach, lessons are delivered to students through modular (printed and offline), online, television and radio-based instruction and blended learning – a combination of two or more modes of learning.
However, during the First Quarter of this school year, DepEd recognized the challenges faced by students and teachers under the new learning set-up and directed the implementation of academic ease measures.
This March, DepEd also made adjustments in the SY 2020-2021 school calendar – extending the current school year to July.
Despite the challenges in distance or blended learning setup, DepEd said that it remains “committed” to addressing these issues. In particular, DepEd is focusing on the extension of accessibility of the DepEd Commons and DepEd TV, the implementation of academic ease measures, and the strengthening the initiatives on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support.
“These initiatives are reinforced further, as we also provide numerous assistance to our teachers and learners through our national and local government and the private sector,” DepEd said.
DepEd noted that while the “education sector may have faced insurmountable challenges this past few months due to the pandemic and other calamities,” the need to work together remains very crucial.
“We are calling for everyone to take part in putting united and concerted efforts for the sake of our children,” DepEd ended.