It’s been months since students and teachers last saw school classrooms and hallways. The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines continues to rise, and it may take a while before learners and educators see each other again. Despite that, the education sector has taken steps to take learning online so students can still study amid the pandemic.
But doing so has not been an easy task. Getting a stable internet connection remains a problem for both students and teachers, some do not have the funds to purchase gadgets, while some have no access to signals at all. Educators’ teaching methods were designed for face-to-face learning, and teachers had to quickly adapt to an online setup so learning may continue during these times. There are a lot of major changes, so it makes sense to ask the Department of Education (DepEd) if the country is ready to take on this new form of learning.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones said DepEd was ready to resume classes on August 24 after some schools ran successful distance learning simulations.
"Ang importante patuloy ang edukasyon. Bubuksan ang ating classes on August 24. Ang question ay handa ba ang DepEd? Ang DepEd ay handa na. Nakita namin 'yan sa simulation. It will work," Briones said in a forum.
Briones mentioned a "successful" distance learning run in Navotas City.
According to Briones, some private schools held their own distance learning simulations, while some have opted for the delivery method.
With face-to-face classes suspended until a COVID-19 vaccine is found, blended learning—which constitutes of online modules, offline activities, radio, and television broadcasts—is the way to go at this time.
Briones stressed that no student would be forced to learn through online means if they have no access to equipment or connectivity.
"Hindi pinipilit ang mga bata na mag-online sila kung hindi talaga puwede ang online dahil maraming ibang paraan na matuturuan sila without necessarily going online," she said.