Schools, LGUs crucial to blended learning
MANILA, Philippines — The partnership of local officials and the diverse institutions in the education sector is crucial to the success of blended learning in the country, according to an official of the Department of Education (DepEd) who spoke at an Inquirer webinar on Friday.
Blended learning, or the combination of online and face-to-face classes, is the mode of instruction being pursued in the field of education amid the continuing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic — and as the DepEd and its partner institutions are conducting a nationwide dry run before class opening on Aug. 24.
“On the basis of the results of the dry run, we were really encouraged that teachers and the school officials were able to demonstrate creativity, commitment and passion [in the] communities,” said Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio.
He also pointed out that “barangay officials, municipal mayors and governors were also able to demonstrate that local governments would always support DepEd.”
San Antonio was one of three resource persons at the Inquirer’s “Education in Focus: The Classroom at Home” webinar broadcast live on the Facebook page of Inquirer.net.
The Inquirer’s partners in the webinar are the Far Eastern University and the Apec Schools network of standalone private high schools, which has 22 branches and 15,000 students in the country.
The other guests were Trix Clasara, digital marketing head and community manager of the Glam-o-Mamas social media platform, and Joie Lopez, president and CEO of the Apec schools.
In the course of implementing blended learning, the DepEd should not centralize the distribution and reproduction of learning materials, San Antonio said, because that “would be a big nightmare.”
“So we decided that for the first quarter, learning materials would be reproduced at the ground level—[in the] regions, divisions and schools. According to our monitoring, they’re now in the midst of procuring or reproducing these [materials],” he said.
He added: “It’s not the central office that would tell schools what to use; they will be guided depending on what resources they have at home or school, and they will make decisions whether to do online [classes], or use learning modules.”
San Antonio also cited the need for resourcefulness in funding the DepEd’s learning continuity plan for public schools.
He cited the special education fund (SEF) of local government units (LGUs), the schools’ budgets for operation and maintenance, and assistance from development partners and the private sector through the DepEd’s Brigada Eskwela initiative to ensure learning continuity.
San Antonio said “local governments that have more SEF can say that [they] are going to procure gadgets for every learner in [their] area, [while] learners in the far-flung areas will have to make do with TV and radio, so there would really be differences in access to resources.”
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