Public and private schools that offer basic education are expected to implement face-to-face classes this incoming school year (SY) 2022-2023, the Department of Education (DepEd) said.
While blended learning will still be allowed when classes open in public schools on Aug. 22, DepEd Spokesperson Michael Poa maintained that all schools nationwide are expected to have transitioned to in-person classes after the three-month transition period or from August to October.
“To institutionalize blended learning is something that we’re thinking of but for now, the clear provisions of DepEd Order No. 34 is after Oct. 31 which is Nov. 2, moving forward, in-person classes will be mandatory,” Poa said in a mix of English and Filipino during a press conference on Aug. 10.
“As to the exceptions, they will be limited to highly exceptional cases and we will determine that during the transition period which schools would fall under that exception,” Poa said in a response to the appeal of private schools to allow them to implement flexible learning modalities such as offering “hybrid” or fully online classes.
In July, the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) said that allowing private schools to implement flexible learning modalities will also give the parents — especially those who are still hesitant to send their children to school amid the pandemic — more options.
While DepEd recognizes the concerns raised by the private schools, Poa maintained that the direction of the department for this school year is to resume full face-to-face classes.
“For now, just to be clear, the transition period is from Aug. 22 to Oct. 31, and then Nov. 2 onwards, the direction is mandatory in-person for all schools,” he said.
Poa pointed out that there has been a study on learning loss not just in the Philippines but also in other countries.
In the Philippines, Poa said that many become out-of-school youth (OSY) for “several reasons.”
Some of them, he noted, were forced to stop attending school during the pandemic because they did not have enough resources to buy gadgets or pay for internet connection which was crucial for distance learning.
“That’s why this administration is pushing for in-person [classes] para yung mga nawalan ng (so that those who have lost the) opportunity during the pandemic, makabalik na (they can go back) to learning,” he added.