How will learning for out-of-school youth continue amid COVID-19 pandemic?
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How will learning for out-of-school youth continue amid COVID-19 pandemic?

Christian Deiparine ( - October 12, 2020 - 4:25pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education on Monday said it is leaving it up to schools and division offices to come up with programs for students unable to enroll for the school year that pushed through amid the coronavirus pandemic and calls for postponement from groups. 

Figures from the agency as of October 9, showed that 24.8 million have enrolled this 2020, compared to 27.2 million last year which meant some 2.4 million may have opted to skip school this year. 

Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio said the agency has its alternative learning system for the out-of-school youth to be able to catch up. 

"Titignan natin 'yung trend na kung may mga magulang na makitang hindi naman pala risky kahit may COVID-19 ay baka ma-monitor natin in the coming weeks kung may mga bumabalik pa," he said in a press briefing Monday.

(We will observe the trend if parents will see that it is not risky even if the threat of COVID-19 still exists. We will monitor in the coming weeks if some students will return.) 

So far, 22.6 million are enrolled in public schools, while 2.1 million are in private institutions, a number that has gone down significantly from 4.3 million enrollees in 2019. Around 400,000 were also reported to have transferred to public schools.

DepEd has said that they are still anticipating for the enrollment figures to go up, with late enrollees still accepted until November 21. 

San Antonio said the agency is leaving it up to schools and its division offices to come up with their own interventions for students in their areas who failed to enroll. 

"'Yung mga detalye ng mga stratehiya, inaasahan natin 'yung mga napaka capable at creative school officials at mga kasamahang guro," he said, "Sila mismo ang magdi-disensyo ng mga interventions at remedial activities."

(We leave such details on the capability and creativity of school officials and teachers. They will design the interventions and remedial activities.) 

The agency before had vowed that no learner will be left behind amid challenges of holding classes due to the ongoing health crisis, as it taps the help of TV, radio and the Internet for blended learning, along with printed modules. 

But groups have called for the postponement of classes this year, otherwise known as an academic freeze, as internet connection and gadget availability hound the agency's decision.

Such fears became a reality on the first week of classes, including the problem on errors in modules, with officials admitting that they too are still adjusting to the changes. 

"Napakaganda na 'yung mga schools at division offices ine-empower natin to come up with their own interventions," San Antonio said. "Ang reminder sa amin lahat ni Secretary Liling (Briones) na siguruhin na ang bawat kabataang Pilipino na gusto matuto ay mabibigyan ng maayos na edukasyon."

(It is good to empower schools and division offices to come up with their own interventions. Secretary Liling has reminded us to ensure that every Filipino child who wants to learn will be given a good education.) 

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers cried foul over this move as DepEd's "another attempt to finger-point" its local offices and schools on the issue of providing programs for those who did not enroll. 

"The DepEd's stance on these serious concerns are very telling that they have zero plans and contingencies for such matters and only comes now as an afterthought," said its secretary general Raymond Basilio. 

"The agency even had the audacity to add this up again to the responsibilities of the schools and local offices, which resources are now drained," he added. 

Sought for comment on fears of a massive dropout with concerns on distance learning, the education official said parents should rethink of a decision that would "completely deprive" their children of learning. 

"Dapat pag-isipang maigi ng magulang yung option na completely ide-deprive nila 'yung bata ng pagkakataon na tuloy-tuloy mamulat sa mga tamang kaalaman at kasanayan," San Antonio said. "Baka mas malaking disadvantage 'yun."

(That's something parents should think of carefully as it would completely deprive children of the opportunity to learn. There could be a bigger disadvantage in doing this.) 

San Antonio added that the agency has learning support aides or teacher-volunteers to help parents or guardians address such concerns. 

In the same briefing, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said they are still studying the possibility of recommending to President Rodrigo Duterte to allow on-site visits of children to schools, especially in areas with low virus transmission. 

Duterte had shunned the possibility of conducting face-to-face learning until a vaccine for the COVID-19 has already been developed. 

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: December 26, 2020 - 6:24pm

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

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

November 26, 2020 - 12:07pm

The University of the Philippines will implement a 'no-fail' policy for the current semester, the Office of the Student Regent announces.

The Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs will release guidelines for the policy, where no grades of "4" (Conditional)  or "5" (Fail) will be given.


November 12, 2020 - 6:05pm

Filipinos dealing with the aftermath of a series of major typhoons cannot continue classes under current conditions, Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan says in a release as it demanded that classes and other academic work be postponed until the 19th.

"As Typhoon Ulysses continues to wreck havoc in Central Luzon and the Greater Manila Area and southern Luzon still grappling with widespread flooding, power outages and intermittent internet signals making distance learning of any kind practically impossible," the group says.

"We demand the suspension of ALL classes and submission of academic requirements in ALL levels NATIONWIDE until November 19. Millions need decisive action from our government officials NOW," it also says.

October 29, 2020 - 8:08am

The UN and World Bank plead in a new report Wednesday for schools to remain open despite COVID-19 risks, highlighting the damage the pandemic has inflicted on children's education, especially in poor nations. 

Children in impoverished countries have been deprived of close to four months of schooling since the pandemic began early this year, while pupils in rich nations benefiting from remote learning have lost six weeks, the report said. 

"Prioritizing reopening schools and providing much-needed catch-up classes are critical," says Robert Jenkins, education chief at the UN children's fund UNICEF. 

"We don't need to look far to see the devastation the pandemic has caused to children's learning across the world," he adds in a statement. — AFP

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