Briones: ‘We never closed our schools...learning did not stop at all’

Education Secretary Leonor Briones / DepEd / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN

Education Secretary Leonor Briones wanted to set one thing straight: the Philippines “never closed” its schools even amidst a pandemic.

Briones, in a virtual presser on Wednesday, March 23, maintained that the schools under the Department of Education (DepEd) did not close even when the conduct of face-to-face classes was suspended since March 2020 due to the threat of Covid-19.


“There is a great deal of interest with face-to-face classes,” Briones said, especially now that more schools have been allowed to hold limited in-person learning sessions under the progressive expansion phase of limited face-to-face classes.

In the past years, Briones said that there were so many criticisms thrown at the DepEd on why there were no face-to-face classes.

“What we don’t realize and we don’t recognize is that our schools have been open for two years,” she said.

“We never closed our schools, it’s just that we shifted to a different policy, to a mix of methodologies of continuing the learning process of our children,” Briones added.

“When we locked down the buildings, we did not lock down the process of learning and of education,” she added.

Briones said this as a response to claims of learning loss among Filipino learners due to months-long school closures.

“We, in the Philippines, believe the story even as we knew that last October (2020), we opened schools,” Briones lamented.

“This September, we opened the academic year again but still, we believe that our schools have been closed and we are the only country in the world not having face-to-face,” she added.

Briones pointed out that due to the public health situation brought about by Covid-19, a lot of “creative methodologies” have emerged.

“Learning takes place in other learning did not stop at all,” Briones said.

For the past two school years, DepEd has been implementing a distance learning approach where students learn their lessons at home through alternative learning delivery modalities which include modular (printed/offline), online learning, television, and radio-based instruction, and blended learning or a combination of remote learning modes.

In November last year, DepEd was finally allowed to hold a pilot study of limited face-to-face classes in 120 public and private schools.


Even as more schools were allowed to hold limited face-to-face classes in low-risk areas, Briones said that the blended learning approach will stay.


Based on DepEd’s latest data, there are 10, 196 public and private schools that are currently implementing limited face-to-face classes.

Citing data from its latest quick count, DepEd said that there are 14, 396 public and private schools “nominated” for the progressive expansion phase of the limited face-to-face classes with 2, 600, 773 learners.

Data from DepEd showed that there are over 47,000 public schools and more than 13,000 private schools nationwide.

(Courtesy of DepEd)

For School Year (SY) 2021-2022, there are 27.2 million learners enrolled in schools that offer basic education.