DepEd says no signs yet of massive dropouts due to blended learning
Two Filipino students are seen listening to DepEd's broadcast TV lesson in this undated photo
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman

DepEd says no signs yet of massive dropouts due to blended learning

Christian Deiparine (Philstar.com) - January 26, 2021 - 4:30pm

MANILA, Philippines — The education department on Tuesday dismissed claims that there has been a massive dropout in students enrolled in distance learning months since the setup hounded by difficulties began due to the pandemic.

Classes in the Philippines resumed in October after the last school year was cut abrupt as the health crisis unfolded in the early months of 2020. Since then, learning has shifted to mediums such as the internet, television and radio, apart from printed resources.

Education officials had pushed through with the reopening despite warning from groups that challenges such as access to internet and no means for gadgets could compromise learning for many. 

Some 25 million had enrolled in the present school year, but such was short of two million from figures in 2020, which would mean a significant number opted to forego the year.

At a Laging Handa briefing, Secretary Leonor Briones said reports from DepEd's regional offices showed no signs of many discontinuing school by the second quarter.

"Hanggang ngayon, vine-verify namin kung saan nanggaling 'yung balita," she said. "So wala pa kaming basehan na makaka-conclude na mayroong massive dropouts."

(Until now we are still verifying as to where this claim came from.. To date we don't have basis yet that would conclude that there are massive dropouts.)

The education chief did not give figures on how many so far have dropped from their online classes despite refuting the claim. She also denied that such incidents are related or a result of the new learning setup.

But in December of last year, the group Teachers Dignity Coalition told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo that they have seen a number of students no longer taking part in their online classes or even in answering their modules.

Still, Briones touted DepEd's move for an "academic ease" where schools would be allowed to put more time on more essential activities, recognizing challenges from students and teachers' mental health in adjusting to the setup.

Relaxing the workload given to students was also part of the agency's response to calls in late 2020 for an academic break in light of the typhoons to hit the country.

"Nagbigay ng feedback ang parents at mga bata na naninibago sila sa dami ng assignments, so 'yun ang ignagawa natin, ang academic ease," Briones said. "Pero wala kaming nababalitaan na significant number of students na nagda-drop out."

(Parents and students had given their feedback that they are not used to the many assignments given hence we rolled out the academic ease. But so far, we have not received news of a significant number of students dropping out.)

The agency was supposed to run a pilot study on resuming in-person classes this year, but such plans were shelved due to the threat of the new variant of the coronavirus.

Only recently, President Rodrigo Duterte also rescinded the coronavirus task force's rule, allowing minors as young as 10 to go out of their homes, a development that only further blurs the chances that face-to-face classes may soon see its return.

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