MANILA (UPDATE)- The Department of Education (DepEd) has yet to finalize how students would be assessed under the distance-learning system, about half a month before classes in public schools open, Senate Committee on Basic Education chair Sherwin Gatchalian said Wednesday.
While the DepEd is "90 percent" ready in terms of the printing of modules for the first quarter, the "missing link" in their preparations is the assessment, Gatchalian told reporters in an online press conference.
"I just found out kanina hindi pa pala napirmahan 'yung assessment guidelines which is very important kasi paano mo ma-assess 'yung bata kung natututo sila o hindi?" he said.
(I just found out a while ago that they have not yet signed the assessment guidelines which is very important because how can you assess if a student learned or not?)
The DepEd earlier said it would retain a numeric grading system after a lawmaker suggested implementing a "pass or fail" system during the distance-learning scheme.
Shifting to a new grading system would mean additional work for teachers, which the department does not want to impose, DepEd Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio told ABS-CBN News last month.
"We are modifying the criteria but numerical ratings will be used," he said.
Gatchalian said he expects Education officials to finalize the new assessment system "within the week."
The senator, meanwhile, expressed his doubts on the DepEd's projection of a face-to-face learning system scenario in January 2021. He said the present situation in the country remains volatile given the pandemic, making it hard to plan a scenario that will take place next year.
“If you remember 'yung pronouncement ng DepEd na face-to-face na tayo by January. But ang January [is] less than 3 and a half months to go, and kung ine-expect natin ang vaccine would come out middle of next year, 'yun ang forecast ng IATF, we’re looking at a scenario na baka hindi pa rin matuloy yung face-to-face by January," Gatchalian said.
(If you remember DepEd's pronouncement that we will have face-to-face classes by January. But January is less than 3 and a half months away, and if we are expecting a vaccine would come out middle of next year, which was the forecast by IATF, we're looking at a scenario that the face-to-face classes by January wouldn't be realized.)
He said he also believed the DepEd could not really deliver its promised online learning system, making it important for able local government units to also do their share.
“Some cities, I know for a fact like Makati and Marikina, gagamit sila ng tablet o online [platforms]. Depende na 'yun kung ano, 'yung capability and support na ibibigay ng LGUs. So kung ang LGUs susuportahan talaga ang tablet and online, then tablet and online,” he said.
(Some cities, I know for a fact like Makati and Marikina, they use tables or online platforms. That depends on the capability and support given by the LGUs. So if LGUs support tablets and online platforms, then it should be tablets and online platforms.)
Gatchalian urged the DepEd leadership to spend the P4-billion fund it received through the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) for the teaching requirements.
"Na-suggest ko nga ibuhos na lang natin 'yan sa teachers kasi kung magpri-print pa tayo ng self-learning modules, kaya na yan ng mga local (government units). So yung P4 billion gamitin na lang natin for load and other things para matulungan natin yung teachers," he said.
(I suggested to allot the funds to the teachers because if we need to print self-learning modules, local government units can do that. The P4 billion can be used for load and other things, so the teachers will be relieved.)
The fund, according to the senator, will be subject to the Commission on Audit’s scrutiny. -- With a report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News