DepEd not involved in OVP-led learning hubs – Briones
MANILA, Philippines —— The Department of Education (DepEd) is not involved in Vice President Leni Robredo’s community learning hubs, according to Secretary Leonor Briones.
The learning hubs were launched last month to complement online classes and thus help students cope with the changes in schooling under the coronavirus pandemic.
The Inquirer reported earlier that the project was being undertaken in coordination with the DepEd, citing as source a member of the agency’s city division office in Pasig.
But Briones said the DepEd was still enforcing the President’s policy of not allowing in-person classes amid the pandemic, and it could not reverse this directive.
In putting up the learning hubs, the Office of the Vice President (OVP) also coordinated with partner local governments such as the Pasig City government, as Briones herself noted.
“That is one-on-one because our division superintendent did not approve that,” the education secretary said in an online press briefing on Tuesday led by presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, who asked her about Robredo’s project.
Briones said the OVP also coordinated with a village in Taytay, Rizal province, but pointed out that the DepEd was not involved in this as well.
“On record, there is no such agreement, no such approval and the President’s policy that there be no face-to-face sessions for children while there is no vaccine available remains. This is still enforced and followed by the DepEd,” she said.
She also said the learning hub project did not push through in Caloocan City because the division superintendent and the local government did not give the go-ahead.
According to Briones, Robredo’s office proposed the community learning hub project to the DepEd in August.
The DepEd asked for details of the proposal and submitted a copy to the President and to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, she said.
But the department did not allow the project because it was obeying the President’s directive that there should be no in-person classes until the development of a vaccine for COVID-19, she said.
“Since we follow the order of the President, we did not allow that because it is not part of the DepEd’s authority to announce something that would reverse what the President said,” Briones said.
Robredo’s spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said in response: “The Community Learning Hubs initiative was coordinated with the Department of Education, at both the national and local levels, every step of the way. In official correspondences between OVP and DepEd, Sec[retary] Briones herself mentioned that ‘it is a good initiative’ and in fact requested additional details to ‘evaluate the feasibility of implementing such a program at scale.’” INQ
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