MANILA — An official from the Department of Education (DepEd) congratulated students, teachers, and even parents, as school year (SY) 2020-2021 for public school students in basic education ends on July 10.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Usec. Nepomuceno Malaluan, chief of staff of the Office of the Secretary, described the past school year as "very challenging" which was completed through distance learning.
"Natapos natin despite the many challenges that we had to face, the short period of time that we had to shift into this form of learning. It is a year that was not wasted, as other might have wanted us to really just take a standstill for the last school year. So we congratulate our parents, learners, and teachers," Malaluan said.
The official said DepEd will carry with it lessons learned, best practices, feedback from the ground, and its own monitoring and assessments for improvements in the delivery of education, especially for next school year and "beyond the COVID period".
For one, using the most essential learning competencies (MELCs) will remain, as blended learning continues next school year.
The DepEd defines MELCs as standards used by teachers to "focus instruction to the most essential and indispensable competencies that our learners must acquire". MELCs differ per grade level.
Malaluan said the agency is also looking into lessening dependence on printed modules, as it studies how to address challenges in connectivity and gadgets for online classes.
There will also be "tighter quality assurance of modules".
The official explained, because of limited time of preparation for blended learning in the past school year, some learning resources did not undergo "complete quality assurance process".
"We had no choice but to combine learning resources that have gone through the complete quality assurance process and allow also that to be complemented by the learning resources developed at the field unit," Malaluan said.
"At nakita naman natin na may mga nakakalusot, na may mga quality assurance issues, errors, etc. We believe that the time that we've spent last year and the remaining probably couple of months, within which we can still address this will mean that we will be able to put in place tighter quality assurance on our learning resources."
The agency will also implement adjustments in the assessment of students.
"Malaki iyong karanasan ng mga guro natin sa pag-monitor ng pag-aaral ng mga bata at paano iyan ina-assess. At iyan ay we are consolidating so that it can better inform our adjustments in the policies for the incoming school year," Malaluan said.
The professional development of teachers is also a priority of DepEd, through the upskilling and reskilling of teachers through the National Educators Academy of the Philippines.
"Among these professional development programs now is a scholarship program that we have for more than 2,000 teachers for graduate programs to be provided by PNU (Philippine Normal University), in cooperation with other normal schools around the country," Malaluan said.
SY 2020-2021 began on October 5, 2020. Classes were supposed to end on June 11, based on the school calendar released by DepEd in October 2020.
The last day of classes was moved to July 10, when agency released amendments on the school calendar in March 2021 "to allow schools to implement intensive intervention and remediation activities for learners and to give time to teachers for the different learning delivery modalities."
In-person classes are still not allowed for basic education remain closed, while some colleges and universities have started limited face to face classes for medicine and allied courses.