After President Duterte once again thumbed down proposals to implement limited face-to-face classes amid the pandemic, a group of teachers urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to start preparing the education system for another school year under distance or blended learning.
The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC), a 30,000 strong-group, on Tuesday, June 22, said that the DepEd should be able to identify by now the challenges under distance learning which is being implemented this school year.
“With the President, again rejecting limited face-to-face class proposals from DepEd, it is now clear that the same learning system will be used in the entire country for school year 2021-2022,” TDC National Chairperson Benjo Basas said.
Duterte, during his pre-recorded televised address on Monday night, once again rejected the proposal of DepEd to implement limited face-to-face classes in low risk areas. Education Secretary Leonor Briones, as a response, has withdrawn the request of DepEd.
This is not the first time that Duterte rejected calls for the pilot testing of limited face-to-face classes at the basic education level. In December, DepEd formally sought the approval of the President for the pilot implementation of face-to-face classes which was supposed to start in January 2021.
While the President initially agreed, he recalled his decision with the detection of new COVID-19 variant in the country. In February, the proposed pilot implementation of face-to-face classes was once again brought up the proposal to the President, however, it was also rejected.
Given the latest pronouncement of the President of not allowing face-to-face classes, TDC said that DepEd is likely to adopt distance learning as part of its Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP).
Under the BE-LCP, students learn their lessons at home through the use of multiple learning delivery modalities such as modular (printed and offline), online learning, television and radio-based instruction, and blended learning or a combination of two or more alternative delivery modes.
However, TDC expressed concern that the teachers, learners and parents will once again experience the challenges they have experienced under distance learning this school year.
“And thus, the same problems of inaccessibility of children to online platforms, non-provision of gadgets for our teachers, lack of self-learning modules or its erroneous content and inability of many parents to facilitate the learning may again be encountered,” Basas said.
Given this, TDC called on the leadership of DepEd to “prepare the system and learn from the lessons of the current school year before declaring the start of another.”