DepEd not ready for ‘new normal’ classes – solons
MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Friday expressed concern over the supposed lack of readiness of the Department of Education (DepEd) for the new school year in August with an overhauled educational system that adapts to the “new normal” under a coronavirus pandemic.
During the hearing of the House Committee on Basic Education, members of Congress urged the DepEd to soothe the prevailing anxiety among parents in employing a new school system and ensure that the education of their children would not be impaired and their health not put at risk.
House Deputy Speaker and Sorsogon Rep. Evelina Escudero cited the apprehension of teachers in her province who confided that they were supposedly about “50-percent ready” for the Aug. 24 school opening.
No face-to-face classes
The House committee sought updates from the DepEd on the “learning continuity plan” it has developed under the “new normal,” wherein students would not be required to attend face-to-face classes.
Pangasinan Rep. Christopher De Venecia aired his concern that with the “distance learning” system that the DepEd was proposing, other parents might also not have the means to supervise their children while doing school activities at home.
Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said that DepEd remained confident on the readiness for the Aug. 24 opening of classes, and was now shifting to concrete application of the learning continuity plan it had developed.
“If it is very visible that this cannot be done, we will be the first to admit, but at this time we are confident that our timetable is moving along,” he said.
According to Malaluan, the nationwide enrollment has so far reached 17.8 million, or about 64 percent of last year’s total enrollment of 22.5 million.
He said the DepEd had extended the enrollment until July 15, supposedly to allow other skeptical parents to have their children enrolled.
Malaluan said the DepEd had devised a combination of strategies that schools will adopt during the pandemic, when many parents are concerned over the risk of their children contracting the COVID-19.
According to Malaluan, schools where face-to-face instruction will not be allowed will employ “distance learning” methods, such as through online platforms or “self-learning modules (SLM).”
The SLM or referred to as the “school-in-a-box,” means that learning materials, usually contained in a box, are delivered to the homes of students who do not have means to use online methods.
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