The Department of Education has yet to decide on the recommendation to conduct face-to-face classes for students staying in evacuation centers.
During a Senate hearing, Senator Nancy Binay asked if the agency was considering this, as she noted that the evacuees in calamity-hit areas “technically” have face-to-face interactions.
“‘Di ko po ‘yan masagot nang malinaw ngayon. As the [Education] Secretary has mentioned, the adjustments more is with respect to the making up, at some point, for lost time,” Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said.
“Because of the policy on face-to-face classes, we haven’t made that policy adjustment or directive to resume education in face-to-face setting in these evacuation areas,” he added.
Malaluan assured that DepEd officials would look at the local interventions being implemented for learners displaced by the recent typhoons.
Earlier, Malaluan said resuming face-to-face classes would be a ‘shared responsibility’ among stakeholders.
“If we reintroduce it, we believe that there should be a strong agreement of shared responsibility of key stakeholders including the parents, and the local government units… because without this, the DepEd will surely be blamed solely for any incidents of exposure and infection,” he said. “There should be mechanisms to clarify the assignments of responsibilities.”
Status of face-to-face classes
“This concern, your honor, is not just political on our part because it can really put at risk learning continuity altogether. In other words, it will strengthen the position and arguments of those that are advocating for academic freeze,” he added.
According to Malaluan, the advantages of face-to-face classes include supervision of time devoted to learning, formative assessment by teachers, and social interaction.
Earlier, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said DepEd is studying the possibility of gradually returning to face-to-face classes next year.
Malaluan said Briones’ updated recommendation to President Rodrigo Duterte is still being finalized.
Meanwhile, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairperson of the Senate committee on basic education, said he favors localized and limited face-to-face learning workshops to help parents who could not teach their children at home.
He noted that massage parlors were already open, showing that the COVID-19 situation is getting better in some areas. Senators Imee Marcos and Nancy Binay also pointed out that cockpit arenas and tourism sites were also reopened.