DepEd says classes to open August 24
The Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday announced that the opening of classes in public and private elementary and high schools for the 2020-2021 school year will be on August 24.
In Laging Handa virtual presser, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said classes can be held through physical or online depending on the situation in the provinces, cities and municipalities.
“We already talked with the executive committees, with our management committee, and I also reported this to IATF (Interagency Task Force). Last week, I told them that the date that we choose of the 700,000 respondents (of our survey), their reference is August,” Briones said.
“Formal opening August 24, whether online or other ways of learning,” she said.
Briones also said the academic year will end on April 30.
She added opening the classes by August is in line with the Constitution that states schools must start anytime between June and August.
“But it does not mean everyone will go to school because we have a lockdown in other areas. It could be virtual (classes), it could be physical in allowed areas to open their school,” Briones said.
“The biggest consideration is to protect the health, safety and well-being of learners. That is our main priority. That’s why we follow the advice of DepEd and IATF,” she added.
Briones reiterated that learning process must continue despite that the country is facing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.
“Our children can still study at home and can continue acquiring knowledge that’s why the role of parents or grandparents in helping them learn is big… there are flexible learning options. According to some public and private schools they are ready to open online (classes),” she said.
Other options for teachers and students are studying through cellphone, television and radio.
“We will also adjust the content of our curriculum, not only our teaching ways but also the content of our curriculum will have to change,” Briones said.
DepEd said all content they will be giving online were quality-assured to prevent students from engaging in cyberbullying and pornography.
“It will be reviewed by our Bureau of Learning Resources and Bureau of Curriculum Development. So we will ensure that all content coming from the Department of Education are all consistent with our curriculum and standard but of course we need the help of parents when it comes to accessing other websites,” Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said.
“But at the end of the day, it is important that students know how to be discerning in looking at digital content and online content,” he added.
For those who have not enough means for online learning, Malaluan said they are coordinating with a telecom firm.
“We clarify that this will not be online platform only because what the DepEd will give is a menu of leaning delivery options and materials on online, printed and digital,” he said.
“Based on those menu of options and platforms, at the end of the day, our field units will decide on what fits their student based on the context of their area,” he added.
Education Undersecretary Diosdado Antonio said they are now preparing printed materials, such as instructional packets and self-learning kits for those who have not access online.
“We are now preparing these materials for the areas that will not have access to gadgets,” Antonio said.
Briones also announced that school gatherings and activities will be cancelled for this school year.
“It is saddening that there will be no talent fair, trade fair, campus journalism, festival of talents as all will be temporarily cancel especially on areas under ECQ (enhanced community quarantine),” she said.
She appealed to students, parents, teachers and the entire community that education process right now is community-driven.
“It is not only the responsibility of Department of Education because much of the time of children will be spending at home,” she said.
“We need to continue education but the health of teachers and students must be prioritized,” Briones added. Ella Dionisio/DMS