Briones: Philippines used to blended learning
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is not new to blended learning as it is already being offered in some schools and universities in the country, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said Monday as she refuted doubts on the country’s preparedness to implement alternative learning modalities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Department of Education (DepEd) is currently working to transition the modality of teaching from the conventional “face-to-face” learning to blended learning, which is a combination of online distance learning and in-person delivery of learning materials to the homes of the learners.
Radio and television-based instructions will also be utilized for those who do not have access to a computer or the Internet.
Vice President Leni Robredo earlier raised doubts on the country’s preparedness for these learning modalities, particularly online learning, noting that some areas in the country have no access to the Internet.
But Briones opposed this as she claims that the Philippines has been using blended learning “for decades now.”
“We have been doing distance learning, blended learning for decades and decades [now]. We have a university— at the University of the Philippines, which does and specializes in distance education for the longest time and those who take up education and study education are already exposed to this. We are not inventing anything new,” Briones said in a televised Palace briefing.
She also cited a recent survey conducted by DepEd where it found out that the majority of public school teachers and pupils have laptops or desktops at home.
DepEd had recently announced that classes will start on August 24 with schools adopting various learning delivery options such as, but not limited to, face-to-face, blended learning, distance learning, homeschooling, and other modes of delivery depending on the local COVID Risk Severity Classification and compliance with minimum health standards.
However, President Duterte himself, in a public address aired Friday morning, doubted the Philippines’ readiness for virtual learning.
But he noted that if the government can afford to provide the tools and other needed equipment to the millions of learners, then DepEd could proceed with its plan for the upcoming school year.
To address the unequal and asymmetrical access to information communication technology (ICT), the Education chief cited the use of television and radio networks, which she said are mandated to allow at least 15 percent of its air time to the children.
“The law says that 15 percent of TV time has to be devoted to the children, so sisingilin natin ‘yan. Same for radio, mas mahaba pa nga ‘yung sa radio.
(The law says that 15 percent of TV time has to be devoted to children, so we’ll charge them that. Same for radio, it’s even longer for radios.)
Currently, DepEd is in the middle of its month-long “remote enrollment process,” which started on 1 June 2020.
Remote enrolment allows parents or guardians to enroll their children through alternative ways such as phone calls, text messaging, or online submissions to avoid physical interactions.
To date, Briones said 6.4 million students in public and private schools nationwide have so far enrolled.
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