By: Ashanti M. Rivera / The Dominican Gazette
The Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Health (DOH) signed a merged memorandum in regards of the pilot testing on limited face-to-face classes for Basic Education in “low risk” areas in the country on September 27, 2021, making the Philippines to be one of the last countries to open schools.
For the past months of virtual learning, a lot of concerns were raised to the DepEd as students badly needed a face-to-face interaction especially on hand-on training courses. However, the DepEd sees this as a sign of “success” as the enrollees continue to roll in number.
Approximately 120 schools across the country who passed the School Readiness Assessment by DepEd. Their local governments. will be participating in the pilot testing for two months, ensuring the safety of the teachers, students, and staff while maintaining the plan to execute a successful pilot testing.
“Our utmost priority is the health and safety of our learners and teachers while ensuring that learning happens and learning gaps are addressed. We have been proactive in planning for safe return to schools. The operational guideline for the pilot run of face-to-face classes is a product of our collaboration with DOH, in consultation with various stakeholders, including child health experts. It will only be applicable for the schools that passed the strict vetting process by DepEd and DOH and have the support of their respective local government units,” Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones stated in a press release released by the DepEd.
Although it sounds like a good plan for many, students and parents who are not yet vaccinated have some concerns on whether they would let their children participate in the pilot testing crafted by the DepEd and DOH. However, for Senior High Students who needed physical interaction to maximize learning, it was a good plan for them.
The DepEd and DOH continues to craft and upgrade the guidelines of the two-month pilot testing to ensure safety, but it will be so much different to the “pre-pandemic learning” students have before. Learners will not be forced to join the pilot testing as they will still need their parent’s consent. Furthermore, schools in “high risk areas” will still continue the blended learning until further notice from the two departments.
The decision made by the DOH, DepEd, and President Rodrigo Duterte, may be considered late, but it is still good news for a lot of students and teachers who were having a lot of hard time coping up with the online setup while having other responsibilities in their homes, and keeping their mental health stable.
This decision is a refreshing and good development in the field of Education. However, this will only show the state of the country on how the government handles the pandemic. As Filipinos hope for a better future, the government must not limit the students the appropriate learning setup they need.