The Department of Education (DepEd) expressed readiness to attend a Senate inquiry on its readiness for school opening this incoming school year (SY) 2021-2022.
“Yes, we will attend the inquiry,” DepEd Undersecretary and Spokesperson Nepomuceno Malaluan told the Manila Bulletin in a Viber message on Friday, Aug. 20.
In a statement issued Aug. 20, Senator Win Gatchalian said the Senate will have a “thorough assessment” of the DepEd’s readiness for a prolonged distance learning scenario less than a month to go before the opening of SY 2021-2022.
“As you know, we have been deep into our preparations at all levels for next school year,” Malaluan said. “We will be happy to update the Senate Committee on Basic Education as requested,” he added.
As a response to the disruptions in education due to COVID-19 last school year, DepEd developed its Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP). It aimed to provide guidance to DepEd on how to deliver education in the time of crisis while ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of all learners and DepEd personnel.
For SY 2021-2022, DepEd will continue to implement the BE-LCP.
Malaluan said that DepEd regards that the Senate - as well as the House Committee - as partners in the delivery of education services to the Filipino learners.
“We welcome and value their recommendations,” Malaluan said --- noting that “some of the discussions from these hearings may also give rise to legislative measures.”
Senate Resolution No. 739 was filed by Sen. Gatchalian to “assess if basic education institutions could deliver quality education for the next school year, whether through face-to-face classes, distance learning, or other alternative delivery modes.” This after the Commission on Audit (COA) flagged the deficiencies worth P8.136 billion for DepEd’s implementation of the BE-LCP.
DepEd, in a statement on Aug. 9, said that the agency continues to “find ways to keep the learning process going despite the challenges and uncertainty posed by COVID-19 while maintaining the health, safety, and well-being of learners and teachers.”
Following the directive of President Duterte, DepEd said that face-to-face classes will remain “prohibited” when the SY 2021-2022 formally opens on Sept. 13. Just like in the previous school year, DepEd said that it will continue to implement blended learning this school year.
As part of its school opening preparations, DepEd already released the official School Calendar and Activities for the incoming school year. There will be a total of 209 school days - inclusive of Saturdays and the five-day midyear break - for this SY.
The enrollment for SY 2021-2022 formally started on Aug. 16 and will continue until the first day of classes. Remote enrollment is being implemented in high risk areas.
DepEd also asked schools to conduct “Brigada Eskwela and Oplan Balik Eskwela (BE-OBE)” to inform and strengthen partnerships that complement DepEd’s effort to ensure quality basic education amidst the pandemic.