The Department of Education (DepEd) maintained that limited face-to-face classes — even amid a pandemic — could work.
In a virtual presser on Wednesday, Jan. 5, Education Secretary Leonor Briones shared the significance of conducting the pilot run of face-to-face classes and why there is a need to expand its implementation.
“Pilots really work,” Briones said, noting that DepEd proposed a pilot study on limited face-to-face classes to find out whether or not particular policy advice, proposal, or decision will work. “We can only find [these] out if you pilot it,” she added.
Briones noted that DepEd was keen on conducting a pilot study on limited face-to-face classes because “it’s more advantageous” since the coverage is limited and more manageable.
“If there are any risks, we would be able to control it right away,” she added.
DepEd started the pilot implementation of limited face-to-face classes on Nov. 15. The pilot run ended on Dec. 17 — before the students studying in public schools went on their Christmas vacation.
“Our pilot efforts have shown that it works, that we can have limited face-to-face in areas that are allowed by the Department of Health (DOH),” Briones said.
DepEd, she added, also “took a great deal of time” in planning and making sure that there will be shared responsibility during the implementation of pilot face-to-face classes.
Citing initial reports gathered from participating schools, DepEd said that both students and teachers encountered various challenges during the pilot run.
Despite this, Briones maintained the challenges that DepEd had identified were not “insurmountable.”
These issues, Briones said, could be “cured” even at the school level. “School heads and teachers are taking measures and initiatives to address the challenges,” she added.
During a Cabinet meeting, Briones mentioned to President Duterte the desire of DepEd to expand the face-to-face classes because the pilot implementation “showed desirable results.”
The challenges, she added, were manageable. The concerned authorities also “reacted on them immediately.”
Given this, Briones believed that the result of the pilot study would be very crucial in the plans of the agency to expand the implementation of face-to-face classes.
“Pilots work especially if the pilot areas are carefully chosen and if it works, then you can expand it — that is the direction we are taking under the advice of DOH,” Briones said.
“It strengthens a policy proposal because we have shown that it will work and there is even justification for expanding the pilot,” she added.