MANILA - The Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday said it was "seriously considering" a training program for parents whose children will be learning from home in the coming school year as students remain barred from attending physical classes while a COVID-19 vaccine has yet to be developed.
Parents are expected to monitor the progress of their children who will begin learning through online, television, radio and printed materials, but "not all parents are prepared to monitor" their children, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones told the Senate Committee on Basic Education.
"We are seriously considering that," Briones said when Sen. Nancy Binay asked if the DepEd would provide "separate trainings" for parents to understand the "concept of distance learning."
"Siguro (Maybe) we will not say training because some are insulted by the term 'training.' Maybe we can think of a more elegant term... The term now is 'upskilling,'" the DepEd chief said.
The government needs to fund schools and assistance programs for parents as not all households have a family member capable of teaching children at home, National Association of Secondary Schools of the Philippines president Arnulfo Empleo told the committee.
"Bagamat ang [ibang] mga magulang ay hindi nakapag-aral at walang kakayanan turuan ang mga anak, maaari silang makipag ugnayan sa mga adviser," he said.
(Even if some parents were not able to study and have no ability to teach their children, they can coordinate with class advisers.)
"[Pero] Hindi po kakayanin ng paaaralan lamang. Hindi din po kakayanin kung mga magulang lang o barangay lang," he said.
(But the school cannot do it alone, neither can parents nor barangays do it on their own.)
Binay said schools should also be tapped and reminded that there should be "constant communication" between the teachers and parents now that the latter are more involved in the learning process.
"Ang magbabantay ngayon [sa mga students] mga magulang kaya baka kailangan ay informed at may open line ang mga parents at teachers," she said.
The DepEd has yet to finalize plans for the proposed training program for parents as debates on social media show that some parents expect compensation or benefits for supervising their children's schooling at home, Briones said.
Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte said that he "does not know" if the Philippines is "ready" to shift to a blended education system.
"The technology is good. I do not know if we are ready for that. Meaning to say, if we have enough of those na gamitin para sa (to be used for) the whole of the Philippines," Duterte said.
Public schools began its enrollment process last week.
As of June 11, 9.9 million learners have registered in public and private schools nationwide, data from the DepEd showed.