DepEd urges schools to ease burden of teachers, students
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) has called on schools to lessen the burden of students and teachers amid the new coronavirus pandemic, saying they must not require them to do tasks outside instructional management and that they need to provide psychosocial interventions.
In a memorandum dated Oct. 30, the DepEd asked the schools to put a premium on instructional tasks of teachers rather than weigh them down with printing and distribution of learning modules to help reduce stress and anxiety triggered by the pandemic.
Diosdado San Antonio, education undersecretary for curriculum and instruction, said the strategy of assigning educators’ teaching responsibilities to learners and their parents should be reviewed in response to key challenges in distance learning.
“By ensuring flexibility in teaching and learning, stress and burden of learning through the multiple learning modalities offered by the DepEd will be reduced, even as the learners are guided to focus on the most essential learning competencies,” San Antonio said.
During the first weeks of the school year, teachers reported that they continued to produce and distribute the modules despite the risk of contracting the virus because funds from the DepEd were given late to local offices despite the urgent need to provide learning materials for students.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) cited the case of three teachers in Cebu province who were infected while distributing modules in September because of the DepEd’s “stubborn refusal to conduct health screening and mass testing” of workers in the education sector.
In coping with stress among students who were scrambling to finish tasks indicated in their self-learning modules, the DepEd said schools could determine some activities as optional so that students “are enabled to focus only on the most essential activities while allowing the fast learners to perform additional tasks.”
“Learners and home learning facilitators found to be experiencing difficulties shall be provided additional support by the teachers or learning support aides,” San Antonio said.
Passing the blame
The ACT reminded the DepEd not to pass the blame on students’ stress in answering self-learning modules to schools and local offices, pointing out the templates for these learning materials were created by the department itself.
When parents began noticing that their children were struggling to accomplish their tasks last month, the DepEd asked schools to lessen daily assignments, saying some activities could be made optional.
The DepEd also asked schools to support the mental health and socioemotional well-being of teachers, students and their families by organizing group wellness sessions.
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