Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones on Thursday said her agency will not allow face-to-face classes this coming school year due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) threat.
Briones said there was no conflict between its plans on the start of the coming school year and President Rodrigo Duterte’s opposition to physical face-to-face classes.
“Ayaw ni Presidente, ayaw din ng DepEd (Department of Education) na ma-endanger ang mga bata,” Briones said during the televised Laging Handa press briefing.
“I would like to emphasize —there is no conflict; there is no disagreement; there is no debate between the pronouncement of the President and that of the Department because they are exactly the same —we will not allow,” the DepEd chief added.
Briones said it was clearly stated in the agency’s learning continuity program that the health and safety of the students and teachers are the most important concern in education.
She said what being discussed now is on what way education will continue even if learners are not forced to attend physical classes in schools.
“Iyon ang sinasabi na nga natin na mga alternatives, iyong tinatawag na blended learning. Pero maraming names iyan – blended learning, flexible learning options, distance learning. Pero lahat iyan ay pamamaraan para iyong mga bata ay patuloy na mag-aaral sa kanilang bahay kasama iyong mga parents at patuloy ding mabibigyan sila ng bagong impormasyon, bagong skills at saka bagong knowledge,” Briones explained.
“Ang interesante ngayon ay iyong ibang pamamaraan, iyong sinasabi natin sa blended learning. Nandiyan iyong tinatawag nating DepEd commons na more than seven million na subscribers na; teachers, learners, parents na sinusundan nila iyong mga curriculum nating bago. Nandiyan ang telebisyon, nandiyan ang online at nandiyan ang cellphone,” she added.
Briones said there were various alternatives to continue the education of the Filipino children, stressing that she will respect the decision of the parents whether they enroll their kids or not.
“At the end of the day, desisyon iyan ng mga parents at respetuhin namin kung anong desisyon ng parents —kung i-enroll o hindi nila i-enroll ang kanilang mga anak,” she said.
“Ang gusto lang naming idagdag sa kanilang store of information is may katagalan, mga isang taon iyan or ang the earliest as I’ve said will probably be ten months bago maging available iyong vaccine,” the DepEd chief added.