DepEd aims to air 130 television episodes for distance learning weekly starting October 5

DepEd aims to air 130 television episodes for distance learning weekly starting October 5
In this August 15, 2020, photo, a student participates in the Department of Education's test airing of tv episodes for distance learning.
Released / Department of Education

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education is looking to air over a hundred episodes weekly for the television modality of distance learning once classes open next month. 

DepEd Director Abram Abanil on Wednesday bared this plan to the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture as the agency updated the upper chamber on the status of preparations for the opening of classes. 

"By October 5, the target is to be able to produce 130 episodes per week. [These] 130 episodes cover only the major subject areas under the most essential learning competencies," Abanil said. 

"There are supposed to be 220 subject areas but as of the moment, we are unable to produce 220 [episodes] so we are targeting only for the major subject areas this coming October 5," he added partially in Filipino. 

However, Abanil said the department is aiming to produce 220 episodes per week by January next year, which would include the dubbing of K to 3 subject areas into local languages. 

Once classes open, Abanil said DepEd will be airing 20-minute-long episodes with five-minute breaks in between from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Pictured below is a week-long program grid which was presented by Abanil to the senators: 

According to Abanil, episodes highlighted in yellow are unique while those highlighted in red are replays. 

The education official added that Filipino sign language is "already incorporated in the 130 episodes." 

Partner channels

However, Abanil revealed that DepEd is still finalizing its memorandums of agreement with its partner channels which he said will hopefully be done by next week. 

"For the short term, in October 5, what we plan to do, since we cannot maximize yet all of these tv channels is that we will be airing the program grid in different schedules," he said. 

The DepEd director also presented a list of partner channels to senators which is pictured below: 

"In January, we believe that we will be maximizing all of these channels, just to air all the episodes will require at least two channels without replays, and then with K to 12 localized languages, of having 19 different languages, we're pretty sure we will be needing all the channels being provided here," Abanil said. 

Two weeks before classes open

In the meantime, DepEd will be airing episodes next week "to practice again the logistics behind of getting all the episodes ingested into the tv stations." 

"We don't want to make a repeat again of mistakes that happened on August 11 so we'd like to practice again on September 21 so that on October 5 we will be ready," Abanil told the Senate. 

DepEd held a test run of tv episodes for distance learning from August 11 until August 18 which was plagued by criticism after social media users pointed out grammatical and typographical errors in a multiple-choice question included in an English lesson. 

Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio added that DepEd is also aiming to air episodes in the week prior to October 5 "that will essentially provide for psychological first aid." 

San Antonio said these episodes will simultaneously orient viewers on the aspects of the multiple distance learning modalities. 

Abanil revealed that DepEd is also producing radio episodes for distance learning but is still in the process of building up production. Given this, he said the agency already has a contingency plan in place to safeguard against delays. 

"What we intend to do for radio, given the time schedules that we have, the first thing we will do is that all the video lectures we will be converting them to mp3 formats so that if we don't produce content for radio production fast enough, at least we have the audio component from the video productions," he said in a mix of English and Filipino. 

Abanil further lauded the current state of the department's video production which has 107 teacher broadcasters and five studios in the Central Office. 

"There are also 18 public schools which have been identified for offsite shooting," he said, adding that two of these are already shooting episodes. 

"We have correspondingly mobilized about 72 production staff. This includes producers, illustrators, videographers, and even composers, who will support this 107 teacher broadcasters in producing episodes," Abanil further said. 

In addition to this, the agency expects that its pool of teacher broadcasters will increase to 198 in the next two weeks after it trains a third batch of teachers for broadcasting. 

With a little over two weeks remaining until the opening of classes, DepEd's latest update shows that 20% of tv episodes, and 13% of radio episodes, for the first week of classes have been recorded. 

— Bella Perez-Rubio

SCHOOL YEAR 2020-2021
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: September 20, 2021 - 12:15pm

Follow this thread for updates on when classes will resume, and how those classes will be conducted.

Photo: Students wearing protective face masks have their temperatures taken while entering their college campus in Manila on January 31, 2020. AFP/Ted Aljibe

September 20, 2021 - 12:15pm

A return to classroom learning in some schools is closer to happening, with presidential spokesperson Harry Roque saying the government has authorized face-to-face classes in areas where there is minimal risk of COVID-19 transmission.

The Department of Health and the Department of Education will assess the areas for potential pilot classes. Pilot classes will also need the endorsement of the local government unit and of parents and guardians of the learners who will be involved.

September 13, 2021 - 12:18pm

Classrooms in the Philippines were silent Monday as millions of school children hunkered down at home for a second year of remote lessons that experts fear will worsen an educational "crisis".

While nearly every country in the world has partially or fully reopened schools to in-person classes, the Philippines has kept them closed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the UN says.

President Rodrigo Duterte has so far rejected proposals for a pilot reopening of primary and secondary schools for fear children could catch COVID-19 and infect elderly relatives. 

"I want to go to school," seven-year-old Kylie Larrobis told AFP, complaining she cannot read after a year of online kindergarten in the tiny slum apartment in Manila she shares with six people.  

"I don't know what a classroom looks like — I've never seen one." 

Larrobis, who enters first grade this year, cries in frustration when she cannot understand her online lessons, which she follows on a smartphone, said her mother, Jessielyn Genel. 

Her misery is compounded by a ban on children playing outdoors. — AFP

March 22, 2021 - 3:13pm

The Department of Education (DepEd) Benguet has identified at least 17 schools for the pilot testing of face-to-face classes for the fourth quarter of the year.

DepEd Benguet Schools Division Superintendent (SDS) Gloria Buya-ao confirmed the testing of the limited face to face classes.  She identified Lanipew Elementary School and Tacadang Integrated School in Kibungan; Naguey Elementary School in Atok; Kayapa Elementary School in the boundary of Benguet and Nueva Viscaya; Otbong Elementary School in Bokod;  Amgaleyguey Elementary School in Buguias; Tonglo-Carino Elementary School also in Buguias; and Oyusan and Ja’pa Elementary School in Atok.

Other schools identified were Beckes Pol-oc Primary School;  Beckes Pol-oc Primary School, Busoc Primary School, Mario laruan elementary school and Pasdong Elementary School in Atok;  Gadang Elementary School in Kapangan; Baayan Elementary School and Bilis Elementary school in Tublay. — AFP

December 26, 2020 - 6:24pm

President Rodrigo Duterte announces that face-to-face classes in certain areas are cancelled due to reports of a new coronavirus strain.

November 30, 2020 - 3:01pm

International students have arrived in Australia for the first time since the country shut its borders to curb coronavirus in March, with a charter flight touching down in Darwin on Monday.

Australian universities have been leaking cash due to the country's indefinite border closure, which has locked out foreign students who keep the billion-dollar sector afloat.

A plane chartered by Charles Darwin University (CDU) carrying 63 international students arrived in the northern city of Darwin as part of a pilot programme aimed at kickstarting the higher education industry.

The students — from mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia — travelled to Singapore to catch the flight and will now spend 14 days in a government quarantine facility.

The mix of new and continuing students are enrolled across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses including law, nursing and engineering. — AFP

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