After allowing private schools to continue with blended learning this school year, a group of teachers urged the Department of Education (DepED) to give the same option to public schools especially those that lack resources such as classrooms and teachers.
“Itong nakalipas na dalawang buwan talagang mahirap para sa mga paaralan na may kakulangan sa guro at classrooms kaya dapat mapahintulutan din sila na magsagawa kahit ng isang araw na distance learning (These past two months have been really difficult for schools with a shortage of teachers and classrooms, so they should be allowed to conduct at least one day of distance learning),” said Teachers' Dignity Coalition (TDC) National Chairperson Benjo Basas.
On Oct. 17, DepED formally announced that private schools will be allowed to continue with the implementation of blended learning along with five days of in-person classes and full distance learning.
DepED, meanwhile, reiterated that all public schools nationwide are required to implement five days of face-to-face classes starting Nov. 2.
TDC acknowledged the DepED’s approval of blended learning in private schools, especially those that have prepared and invested in online learning.
However, the group said that blended learning “should also be an option in public schools” --- specifically those that still lack classrooms and teachers.
Basas said that allowing public schools to continue with blended learning does not mean that it will only be online since there are also options for modular or asynchronous learning.
“Ang mahalaga ay mas malaking oras ang ilalaan sa face-to-face classes (The important thing is that more time will be allocated to face-to-face-classes),” Basas said.
TDC noted that since classes started in August, many schools have implemented blended learning where learners are not required to attend a full week of physical classes.
“Rather, they will spend one or two days doing homework, attending online classes,
answering modules or doing asynchronous activities depending on the capacity of the children or the community,” TDC said. Teachers, the group noted, were “still expected to physically report to school five days a week.”
Should DepED allows public schools to continue with blended learning, this will also be beneficial for students and teachers because a day of distance learning will help them to get some rest.
“The one-day distance learning will also help strengthen the mental health of children and teachers,” Basas said.
This one-day-a-week distance learning option, Basas furthered, will also be of great help to the children and parents.
In addition to reducing the cost for the parents, Basas said that the learners will have time to rest from classroom activities and spend time on their way to learning based on the teacher's guide given to them.
The continued implementation of blended learning, Basas said, will also benefit the teachers.
“Stressful at exhausting ang pagtuturo ngayon lalo na kung overloaded ka na at congested pa ang klase mo (Teaching is stressful and exhausting especially if you are already overloaded and your class is congested),” Basas said, noting that TDC has been getting reports of many teachers getting sick just in the first quarter of this school year alone.
Last month, DepED announced that it is planning to institutionalize blended learning.
Given this, TDC expressed hope that the DepED management --- under Vice President and Secretary Sara Duterte --- will consider the option of allowing public schools to continue with blended learning just like private schools.