Students dropping out? DepEd says learners merely switching distance learning modes

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 28 2021 12:12 PM | Updated as of Jan 28 2021 01:59 PM

Students dropping out? DepEd says learners merely switching distance learning modes 1
Teacher Lanie Clemente on the opening of the school year on October 5, 2020 at the Rafael Palma Elementary School in Manila. Clemente gives her toddler son tasks to accomplish to keep him busy while 3 classes are conducted virtually at the same time. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA (UPDATE) – The Department of Education (DepEd) said Thursday students are merely shifting from one mode of distance learning to another as it again denied claims that a significant number of learners have dropped out of school. 

This, as remote learning continues in Philippine schools because of the lingering COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Learners did not drop out from school, but they either shifted from one mode of learning to another,” the DepEd said in a statement.

“Other learners… have decided to shift from solely modular to blended learning, wherein they can also tap into TV, online, and radio resources available at their respective schools,” the agency explained.

The department said migration among students may have also given the impression that there have been dropouts.

“Learners’ migration is observed due to the economic impact of the pandemic. Data showed that students have either moved from city to provincial schools or from private to public schools,” it said.

The DepEd added that students were returning slowly to school after the holiday season, which it described as an annual occurrence.

“There has been no clear indicator of massive dropout attributed to blended learning, based on the assessment conducted by our field officials,” the agency reiterated.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones on Tuesday denied claims of massive dropouts due to difficulties in new modes of learning, which schools implemented as in-person classes remain banned due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), however, said even though students have not formally dropped out of their classes, they are “essentially not participating.” 

“Many students have barely shown up in online classes or have hardly submitted their class requirements,” ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said in a statement.

“Our teachers are very much worried with the waning student participation in the government’s distance learning program but are only giving out incomplete marks instead of failing grades or delisting students from the rolls as we understand their difficulties,” he added, urging the DepEd to address such concerns.

More than 25 million registered in basic education this school year, down by 2 million from the total number of enrolled students in the previous year, according to DepEd data.