Private schools get nod to open before October 5
“After conferring with the Office of the Executive Secretary on the applicability of the decision to private schools and other non-DepEd schools, DepEd hereby clarifies that such private or non-DepEd schools that have already started their classes, or are scheduled to start classes on Aug. 24 or on other dates ahead of Oct. 5, are allowed to proceed, provided they are strictly using only distance learning modalities and that there are no face-to-face classes,” the agency said in an advisory issued yesterday.
Miguel de Guzman
Private schools get nod to open before October 5
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - August 16, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Private elementary and high schools may start classes ahead of the Oct. 5 school opening schedule for public schools in the country, the Department of Education (DepEd) clarified yesterday.

“After conferring with the Office of the Executive Secretary on the applicability of the decision to private schools and other non-DepEd schools, DepEd hereby clarifies that such private or non-DepEd schools that have already started their classes, or are scheduled to start classes on Aug. 24 or on other dates ahead of Oct. 5, are allowed to proceed, provided they are strictly using only distance learning modalities and that there are no face-to-face classes,” the agency said in an advisory issued yesterday.

It reminded private schools to submit relevant documents to regional directors as mandated by the school calendar of activities and the readiness assessment guidelines.

Earlier, private school organizations asked President Duterte and the DepEd to allow them to start the school year as originally scheduled on Aug. 24.

The Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA), in a statement on behalf of its member basic education institutions, sought clarification if the private educational sector is covered by the deferment of the school opening to Oct. 5.

“We appeal to the President to allow the private schools to continue with the school opening as scheduled, as we have been tirelessly preparing at the onset of the pandemic and massive efforts and solutions were made to address the learning crisis,” said the group.

“We are ready to deliver education without compromising the health and safety of our learners and school personnel without diminishing the government’s plan to suppress and control transmission of the virus,” it added.

COCOPEA, which represents over 2,500 schools belonging to five associations of private education institutions, said it was caught by surprise by the announcement made by DepEd on Friday.

It reiterated that the private education sector is ready for school opening using various teaching and learning delivery modes without face-to-face interaction in campuses to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“While this is an unprecedented challenge to many, private schools in the country remained steadfast to their mission. In fact, many private schools have already opened their school year since July,” it added.

Duterte on Friday approved the recommendation of DepEd to defer the opening of classes for the last time to Oct. 5 to give more time for preparations, especially in areas placed under modified enhanced community quarantine this month.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones cited recently enacted Republic Act 11480, which allows the President to move the opening of classes to a later date if the country is under a state of calamity or emergency.

Asked if the deferment will cover private schools, Briones on Friday said it will not include elementary and high schools that are attached or affiliated with higher education institutions.

Private schools that have already started classes could also proceed with the school year, with the secretary saying it would be difficult to stop them especially since the learning process has already begun.

For stand alone private schools that have yet to start their school year, Briones initially said they want them to comply with the regulations of the agency.

“On the postponement, private schools are under the umbrella also of the Department of Education insofar as basic education is concerned,” she said.

“But they also have their own operations manuals and activities, which they also comply with. We want them to generally comply with DepEd regulations,” she added.

The new advisory clarified that private schools may open classes before Oct. 5.

Data showed that at least 2,195 private schools intend to open on Aug. 24, while at least 1,277 schools have set the start of classes before that date.

Malacañang defended yesterday the move to delay the opening of classes on Oct. 5 this year, instead of the earlier Aug. 24, due to the health concerns caused by the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the one-and-a-half month period would allow the DepEd, particularly teachers and their school managements, to prepare further for the multi-blended learning now being implemented to minimize social and physical contacts among students.

Roque said the postponement gives DepEd more time to prepare so opening if classes will be seamless.

Meanwhile, Presidential Communications Operations Office chief Sec. Martin Andanar said the President’s decision was anchored on the government’s assessment of areas that are under modiffied enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

“This option will also ensure that all preparations that need to be fortified for the smooth and successful adoption of a blended-type of learning for each and every one of our students will be done,” Andanar said.

The transfer of resumption would also “provide the government and relevant agencies ample time to fulfill the needs of its teachers, learning institutions and education authorities when they implement the blended learning system of education come October.”

“This as we continue to adapt to the impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has created in all educational systems around the world,” he said.

School calendar

In its statement, COCOPEA said RA 7797, which was amended by RA 11480, and other relevant issuances of DepEd allows private schools to adopt their own school calendar within the period allowed by the law.

“With this announcement of deferment, this may give some private schools the option to further move their school opening to any date but not beyond Oct. 5, while some private schools continue with their school opening this August,” said the council.

“Those who have opened their school year should, nonetheless, be allowed to continue,” it added.

The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), one of the five member-associations of COCOPEA, also wrote directly to Briones to clarify the matter.

It said most, if not all, of its over 1,500 members have already submitted their learning continuity plan to DepEd and are ready to open classes.

CEAP president Elmer Dizon said the clear intent of the President’s decision is to ensure readiness for the school opening, which he said can already be measured by the plans they submitted to DepEd.

“If this is the intent of the memorandum, perhaps a clarificatory order from your office would appease our member-schools that have already commenced the academic year or will plan to open in the coming days,” he added.

Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairman J. Prospero De Vera said college students are not covered by the postponement of the opening of classes.

He said the law used by the President only covers DepEd and the K-12 program.

“Universities open their school year as approved by their board depending on the way they structure their semesters,” he said in an interview with CNN Philippines on Friday night.

“The school year structure is determined by the individual universities in the exercise of academic freedom, which is a constitutional guarantee for higher education,” he added.

He noted that tertiary institutions adopt different structures, such as the number of terms per year.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infection Diseases earlier approved the rolling opening of classes in the higher education sector.

Several tertiary instructions are scheduled to open the school year this month. — Christina Mendez, Robertzon Ramirez

DEPED
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with