MANILA - At least 2 senators on Thursday flagged the Department of Education's (DepEd) training program for teachers after the agency said that only 40 percent of 800,000 public school teachers are prepared to hold virtual classes under the new normal.
A month-long preparation may not be enough for some 462,000 teachers to master the blended learning system, Sen. Francis Tolentino said during a Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture hearing.
"Hindi pa ho natin napapag-usapan 'yung content ng training modules na binigay niyo sa mga teachers... Ano laman nito? No offense, baka napag-usapan lang doon papaano i-off, papaano i-on [ang computer]," Tolentino said.
(We haven't talked about the content of training modules being given to teachers. What does it contain? No offense, but they might have just discussed how to turn off, how to turn on [the computer].)
Teachers also need to be trained on technical support in the event faculty or students encounter technical glitches, the senator said.
"Ang trinain natin kay teacher ay kung papaano i-operate at papaano mag-deliver ng classroom instructions utilizing technology... Papaano 'pag nag bog down 'yung computer?" he said.
(We trained the teacher how to operate and how to deliver classroom instructions utilizing technology... What if the computer bogs down?)
Teachers in areas with internet access are expected to hold online classes, while those in regions with weak WiFi signals are expected to call each student to check on their progress in learning throughout the school year.
Educators are also expected to provide "psychological first aid" and other support to students who may have a hard time adjusting to the new mode of learning during the global pandemic.
The training of teachers should not be done "in haste," Senate Committee on Basic Education chair Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian told DepEd officials.
"Our teachers are not equipped in terms of distance learning... [but] we should not do it in haste. We will not get the optimum level of teaching when we do it in haste," he said.
The National Education Academy of the Philippines (NEAP) will conduct "massive training" in July, Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio told senators.
"There are also local initiatives from the division offices, regional offices where the teachers are also being given training activities," San Antonio said.
"A few schools have also been doing the training of their teachers," he said.
The Senate earlier passed a bill allowing President Rodrigo Duterte to move the opening of classes beyond August 24 to give the education sector more time to prepare for virtual classes while a COVID-19 vaccine has yet to be developed.
As of June 25, 13.8 million students have enrolled in public schools, while 558,000 learners have been registered in private learning institutions, data from the DepEd showed.