For the Department of Education (DepEd), the start of the pilot implementation of limited face-to-face classes in basic education this month was “fairly successful.”
In a virtual press briefing, Education Secretary Leonor Briones gave updates on the pilot face-to-face classes and other issues related to the education sector along with other officials of DepEd from the Central and Regional Offices.
“Dalawang major, major events ang nangyari these past weeks (There were two major, major events that happened these past weeks),” Briones said.
Briones was referring to the opening of face-to-face classes in public schools last Nov. 15 which now it’s followed by the opening of face-to-face classes for private schools on Nov. 22.
“The face-to-face classes were fairly successful for both the public and private sector,” Briones said.
In the same briefing, DepEd Assistant Secretary for Field Operations Malcolm Garma also gave updates on the number of participating learners and teachers as well as other related concerns during the first week of pilot face-to-face classes in 100 public schools located in low risk areas nationwide.
Garma said that there were 7,324 students and 1,129 school personnel who are participating in the pilot face-to-face classes in public schools.
Citing initial reports, Garma noted that “73.3 percent of students” who are attending limited in-person classes are from Kinder to Grade 3 and 25 percent are learners from Senior High School (SHS).
Meanwhile, Garma said that 1.7 percent are both from Kinder to Grade 3 and SHS levels.
Challenges for schools, teachers and students
Meanwhile, Garma also shared some challenges in ensuring safe school operations.
Based on initial reports from participating schools, he noted that among the challenges include “insufficient budget for health essentials” as well as the compliance of students to health and safety protocols. Another concern was the “improper disposal of infectious waste materials” in the pilot schools.
Meanwhile, among the challenges encountered by students and on the teaching and learning aspect include “limited time to clarify lessons” and the difficulty of seeing what is written on the board due to physical distancing.
Garma also noted that some “learners cannot clearly hear what the teacher” because their speech is affected by the face masks that they are wearing during the pilot face-to-face classes.
Meanwhile, among the challenges encountered by teachers include “limited time to accommodate concerns of students” as well as “limited teaching and learning resources.”
Teachers also raised concerns about the multiple attention to learners in the face-to-face classes and those using modules. “Some learners are not ready to participate in physical classes,” he added.
DepEd Director for Curriculum and Development Jocelyn Andaya also shared updates on the pilot face-to-face classes in private schools.
In the 18 private schools that pushed through with the pilot face-to-face classes on Nov. 22, Andaya said that there were 555 Kinder to Grade 3 students and 1,732 SHS students. There were also 375 school personnel who joined the pilot run.
Meanwhile, Briones expressed confidence that more schools will participate in the pilot implementation of limited face-to-face classes in the coming months.
This after President Duterte approved DepEd and the Department of Health (DOH) to decide on the expansion phase of the limited face-to-face classes in its pilot run.