Most private schools sticking to blended learning
While almost all public schools have returned to full in-person classes, the majority of private schools nationwide are still implementing the so-called blended learning system that combines face-to-face and online classes.
Of the 11,701 private schools at the basic education level, 6,867 or 58.69 percent are still into blended learning, while 4,578 or 39.12 percent are conducting full face-to-face classes, according to data provided by the Department of Education (DepEd) to the Inquirer on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, some 203 private schools, or 1.73 percent, are implementing full distance learning, or have yet to require their students back on campus.
The DepEd initially instructed all schools—public and private—to implement full in-person classes by Nov. 2. But on Oct. 17, the agency released DepEd Order No. 44, which allowed private schools to continue with blended or full distance learning beyond the transition period.
The department said it recognized the situation of the private sector’s investment in online learning technologies and institutionalization of best practices in blended learning so it allowed them to decide on their respective learning modalities.
“DepEd, however, hopes that parents/guardians of private school learners would not miss the abundance of scientific studies available on the advantages of in-person classes over online learning,” it said.
Justine Aligonero, a Grade 9 private school teacher in Parañaque City, said they were following a “hyflex” setup, or simultaneous conduct of face-to-face and online classes, since they started the school year on Aug. 15.
“Majority of the [parents] answered in a survey that they still wanted blended learning that’s why we pushed through with [it]. For the second quarter, we’re still on blended learning because the setup and paperwork are still in the works to prepare the students and parents,” Aligonero said in a phone interview.
The schedule for Grade 9 students’ face-to-face classes are on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays while Tuesdays and Thursdays are for online classes.
The school is currently considering different options like four days in-person and one day for online wherein students will complete their assignments or requirements; continue with the hyflex approach; or full face-to-face classes.
More planning time
At Keys School Manila in Mandaluyong City, Grade 1 teacher Eunice David said that since summer, based on discussions with their higher-ups, parents, and other stakeholders, “the school wanted to maintain blended learning even when we’re starting to hear that DepEd wants full face-to-face classes.”
Their current setup is three days of in-person classes and two days of remote learning on Mondays and Fridays.
David said this schedule provided teachers like her with more planning time which did not necessarily require them to be in school and also saved them and the students from the traffic rush on Mondays and Fridays.
“Secondary school students were especially vocal about their preference for this schedule as it allowed for greater learning … they had more flexibility with their schedule that’s why I think they wanted to retain it,” David said, citing a memorandum issued in their school.
The face-to-face classes, she said, helped in assessing the skill level of her Grade 1 students and at the same time, the online classes also helped in retaining the lessons or best practices they gained from the remote learning in the pandemic years.
In a press briefing on Monday, DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa said the agency was studying the possible institutionalization of blended learning.
Based on DepEd’s data, 97.5 percent or 44,177 of 45,309 public schools have complied with the mandatory implementation of the full in-person classes as of Nov. 2, while 1,071 or 2.36 percent are still conducting blended learning.
“I would have to emphasize that this is a moving number … because in some areas, the schools that were affected by the recent typhoon are being used as evacuation centers; they sustained infrastructure damage or the cleanups are ongoing,” Poa said. INQ
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