DepEd yet to print 'self-learning modules' for students without internet 2 months before class opening

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 25 2020 02:55 PM

MANILA - The Department of Education on Thursday said it has yet to print learning materials for students without internet access about 2 months before the opening of blended-learning classes.

The DepEd is expected to start publishing "self-learning modules" next month, Education Undersecretary Tonisito Umali told the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

"We should all be honest... Inaayos pa po namin pero handa na po 'yan before August 24," he told senators when asked if the learning materials were ready.

(We are still fixing it but it will be prepared before August 24.)

"Hindi po lahat ng quarters or grading periods ay nakahanda 'yung aming self-learning modules, pero 'yung unang markahan po, nakakasa na po 'yan... handa by August 24," he said.

(Not all quarters or grading periods have been converted into self-learning modules, but the first grading period will be ready by August 24.)

Under the DepEd's initial plan, the self-learning modules will be picked up from schools every Monday. Students will have to read, study and accomplish the printed exercises throughout the week before their parents return their worksheets to the school over the weekend. 

While the contents of the modules up to the second grading period have been prepared, printing has yet to begin due to lack of funds, the Undersecretary said.

"We don't have funds to procure laptops, gadgets... to be used in light of COVID pandemic kasi wala po 'yan sa aming radar noon," he said.

In March, the Congress passed the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which allows the President to realign funds to create programs for sectors hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The DepEd has been coordinating with local government officials "to make use" of the Special Education Fund (SEF) to "compensate" for funds needed to procure gadgets and other materials for the distance-learning system.

The SEF of local governments differ as the fund is sourced from real property taxes. High-income cities have bigger SEFs compared to small municipalities in far-flung regions.

The education sector has been preparing to hold online, radio, and television classes after President Rodrigo Duterte banned face-to-face lessons while a COVID-19 vaccine has yet to be discovered.

As of June 25, 13.8 million students have enrolled in public schools, while only 40 percent of the 800,000 teachers have been trained for the distance-learning system.