A group of private school administrators said Monday that they will start the school year in the usual month of June despite the education department's plan to move it to a later date due to the coronavirus crisis.
Eleazardo Kasilag, president of the Federation of Associations of Private School Administrators (FAPSA), said their member schools are prepared to open the school year in June and implement "blended learning," where students learn through online media and traditional face-to-face teaching.
"FAPSA member schools have sound connectivity and the students have the required gadget to allow them to catch up with modular lessons installed in the gadget," Kasilag said in a statement.
Kasilag said FAPSA, composed of over 3,000 member schools with 3 million students, have been using technology-mediated education for nearly a decade.
"Our teachers are also exposed to this and may need only refresher course," he said.
Most of the lessons may be studied by learners at home but some subjects may require students to report to school occassionally, he said.
Kasilag said he believed private schools would be able to recover from the financial troubles they currently face after parts of the country were placed on lockdown since mid-March to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Kasilag added they would consult with the Department of Education (DepEd) on how to address homeschooling for pre-school students since it would require parental attention.
"We are aware that it would be very difficult for kinder kids to do homeschooling or even with tablet. This only becomes possible if the parents are willing to sacrifice work to help schools really tutor their kids," he said.
Meanwhile, the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (Cocopea), another group composed of 2,500 member schools, said they are not ready to start classes in June.
"We need to work on various modes of delivery carefully especially because it involves minor students, we are still assessing their readiness, we also await school opening guidelines from the DepEd," said Cocopea Managing Director Joseph Noel Estrada.
For Cocopea's private colleges and universities, 68 percent of them are ready to "roll our their flexible learning delivery modes anytime," said Estrada.
Republic Act No. 7977 states that the opening of classes should take place between "the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August."
The DepEd said it was leaning toward opening the next school year in August, based on consultations with stakeholders and experts, while the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases recommended to open schools in late September.
The DepEd is set to present its recommendations on the opening of classes and other education policies to the IATF in May.