Is PH ready for another year of distance learning?

Published July 17, 2021, 8:47 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Despite a very challenging year under distance learning, a multi-stakeholder survey showed that a majority of students and parents said that they are “well-prepared or very well-prepared” should the remote learning set-up continue in the upcoming school year.

Without face-to-face classes, many teachers were also asked to hold online classes last school year. (MARK BALMORES / MANILA BULLETIN)

Based on the survey conducted by the Movement for Safe, Equitable, Quality and Relevant Education (SEQuRe Education Movement) released this week, 60 to 75 percent of student-respondents and 69 to 76 percent of parent-respondents said that they are “well-prepared or very well-prepared” if the education delivery will continue under a remote set-up.

“A higher level of self-evaluated preparedness was noted among students of online learning and modular learning, and is less among students under blended learning modalities,” the survey noted. “Among parent-respondents, self-evaluated preparedness level is lowest among those with children under modular learning modality,” it added.

To assess the one-year implementation of the distance learning program in public basic education in the country, SEQuRe Education Movement conducted the survey from June 25 to July 2, 2021 with 1,278 teachers; 1,299 Grades 4 to 12 students; and 3,172 parents as respondents. Most of the respondents were from the National Capital Region (NCR).

Concerns on distance learning

Due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic situation in the country, teachers, parents, students are also weighing in on re-implementation of distance learning set-up for the upcoming school year.

Television-based learning through DepEd TV was also among the alternative learning delivery modalities offered under the distance learning set-up (Photo from DepEd)

Despite the challenges under this learning set-up, the survey showed that “majority of public school teachers” or 62 percent still recommended the re-implementation of distance learning for School Year (SY) 2021-2022.

“Parents, on the other hand, seemed to be undecided as only 41 percent of the respondents agreed for the continued conduct of education through distance learning modes, while 36 percent were not sure about it and 23 percent preferred the reopening of schools,” the survey showed.

The same survey also found out that “most number of students” or 40 percent of the respondents “do not want the re-implementation of distance learning.” Meanwhile, about 39 percent were undecided and only 21 percent approved of conducting the next school year through remote learning.

Better re-implementation

Given this, respondents from across the three sectors forwarded similar recommendations on how to improve the conduct of distance learning in the next school year.

Lack of gadgets and unreliable internet connection are just some of the challenges faced by students under distance learning. (MANNY LLANES / MANILA BULLETIN)

Among the recommendations include the conduct of a comprehensive assessment of the one-year experience in distance learning and provision of sufficient funding and support for teaching and learning resources such as: appropriate devices for teachers and learners; free and reliable internet connection; and sufficient, timely and age-appropriate learning modules.

In order to improve the re-implementation of distance learning, the respondents of the survey are also pushing for further streamlining of set competencies which should focus on reading, writing and arithmetic in primary grade levels as well as the reduction of workload of teachers and academic requirements of learners.

The stakeholders believe that there should be a limit on the number of subjects taught per day and reduction of online class hours as well as the prompt release and adequate provision of benefits – especially for teachers.

The respondents also noted that distance learning will be better implemented with the intensive orientation campaign on distance learning for students and parents; appropriate training for teachers; and support mechanisms for students who are having extreme difficulties in coping and learning under distance learning.

More importantly, the respondents believe that there should be concrete efforts for the resumption of limited face-to-face classes in order to address the concerns on learning delivery and outcomes.

Printed modules were the most preferred delivery learning modality of parents and students last school year. (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

On July 16, the Department of Education (DepEd) announced that the opening of classes for SY 2021-2022 will be on Sept. 13 following the approval of President Duterte.


Opening of school year 2021-2022 for public schools set on Sept. 13 – DepEd

However, DepEd has yet to get the approval of the President on the resumption of face-to-face classes. Thus, it is expected that the students will still be under the distance learning set-up this incoming school year.


No face-to-face: DepEd says ‘enhanced’ blended learning will continue