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DepEd: Blended learning dry runs and simulations underway

Photo: Facebook/DepEd Philippines

As teachers, pupils, and parents prepare for the opening of classes on October 5, Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary Revsee Escobedo reassures the public that blended learning dry runs and simulations are being carried out in various school divisions offices (SDOs) and regional offices (ROs).

Escobedo noted that even before the original opening of classes on August 24, most schools had already finished their simulations. Many of these institutions are repeating their dry-runs in order to address any issues or gaps identified during the previous sessions, as well as to incorporate best practices

“Dry runs are being held at the school level to eliminate or minimize the issues during the past dry runs or address gaps and to observe the implementation of their newly-developed learning continuity plans and systems,” said Escobedo.

He also added that the simulations had encouraged parents to enroll their children in school. “Dry runs boosted the confidence of the parents that their children will have opportunities to continuously learn through various learning modalities amidst the COVID-19 situation,” Escobedo shared.

Blended learning dry runs and simulations were first conducted on August 10, as the country transitions to a combination of online, television, and radio-based instruction, as well as through the use of printed modules.

DepEd reported in mid-August that over 500 schools reported successful dry runs.

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DepEd: No basis to give teachers Internet or load allowance for now

Photo: Facebook/DepEd Philippines

According to Department of Education (DepEd) Spokesperson and Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn Sevilla, there is no basis for teachers to receive Internet or load allowance for now.

Educators have been crying for financial support amid the country’s transition to flexible learning for the upcoming school year, which will require them to deliver education remotely and virtually, with the use of gadgets such as laptops, tablets, and/or smartphones.

Sevilla shared that the education bureau is in talks with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in order to look into the possible funding to provide teachers with monetary assistance, through “adjustment and policy guidelines”. She also noted that DepEd has already been allotting as much as P3,500 worth of cash allowance, formerly referred to as “Chalk Allowance”, for eligible public school teachers since June 2020.

DepEd has also created a provision to cover the expenses for public school teachers’ supplies to help them adjust to blended learning, with a budget allocation of P3.185 billion. The teacher must have at least one teaching load to qualify for the allowance. Permanent and provisional teachers in public schools and learning centers are also eligible for the cash allowance, provided they have been in service at DepEd since May 31, 2020, and have been assigned at least one teaching load for school year 2020-2021.

Classes were earlier disrupted in March as community quarantines were implemented all over the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On July 22, President Rodrigo Duterte approved DepEd’s proposal to do limited face-to-face classes starting in January in areas that are under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) or have low cases of coronavirus disease or COVID-19.

Under blended learning, DepEd will be adopting the combined use of TV, radio, and the internet as modes of instruction while face-to-face classes will be largely prohibited. Classes are set to formally open on August 24.

During a COVID-19 task force meeting, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones earlier said that public schools in as many as 345 areas have already conducted dry runs in preparation for the formal start of the 2020 to 2021 school year.