Distance learning simulations to continue before Oct. 5 school opening: DepEd

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 17 2020 03:00 PM

Teachers and school employees prepare modules for elementary school students as the education department transitions to blended learning for the upcoming school opening at the Geronimo Santiago Elementary School in Manila on July 21, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Department of Education said Monday schools would continue to conduct dry runs on the implementation of distance learning in the weeks leading up to the opening of classes on Oct. 5.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones said simulations would continue so schools could identify and correct flaws, and ensure the smooth implementation of new modes of learning when classes formally begin.

"[The dry runs are] going to be real so by the time October comes, kasado na lahat. It's formalization of what we already know, what we are already going to do," she said in a virtual press briefing.

More than 500 schools have already conducted distance learning dry runs in the past months, Briones said.

She urged schools which have yet to conduct simulations to start with dry runs.

Briones added that they would also continue with the production of learning materials, and finalize educational shows to be aired on television and radio.

"Hindi kami mauubusan ng gagawin (We won't run out of things to do)," she said.

Briones announced last Friday that the opening of classes has been moved to Oct. 5 from Aug. 24 after the reimposition of modified enhanced community quarantine in and around Metro Manila affected preparations for the new school year.

School calendar adjustments

With the adjustment of the school opening date, the department also made changes in the academic calendar, said Diosdado San Antonio, undersecretary for curriculum and instruction.

The school year is set to end on June 16, 2021 and will have 200 school days, said San Antonio.

Christmas vacation, meanwhile, will be from Dec. 20 this year to Jan. 3, 2021, he said.

'Recalibrate quality assurance'

San Antonio said the department would also "recalibrate" quality assurance protocols to avoid errors in learning resources.

He made the statement after several grammar and spelling errors were spotted in shows aired during the test broadcast of DepEd TV.

Undersecretary for administration Alain Pascua, meanwhile, said they are preparing the DepEd Commons so it could accommodate up to tens of millions of users who are expected to use the online learning platform when classes begin.

The platform has 8.5 million subscribers so far, but the figure is expected to rise to up to 17 million when the school year starts, said Pascua.

"We're still having an integrity test, kung kaya ba natin na ma-access iyong platform natin ng more than 17 million," he said.

(We're still having an integrity test, if the platform can be accessed by more than 17 million.)

"Kabado rin tayo diyan kasi first time ito... na sabay-sabay mag-access ang mga estudyante sa isang online platform," he added.

(We're also nervous because this is the first time... students will simultaneously access the online platform.)

Some 23.3 million learners have enrolled for the coming school year, DepEd data showed Monday morning.

Of the figure, more than 21.6 million are registered in public schools while 1.6 million are in private schools.