An academic freeze would have been the easiest route out of the pandemic but no, learning — or in a broader term, education — does not stop. Never!
The Department of Education (DepEd) used technology, instead, to make up for the void of time and space teachers and students had been used to.
The department expanded its DepEd TV and DepEd Commons to improve blended learning to keep the students at home while the coronavirus remains a threat outside.
Since their launch last year, DepEd Commons and DepEd TV — the agency’s online and TV-based platforms — expanded services to cater to the needs of learners.
DepEd Commons has recorded 9.6 million unique users after its first anniversary. It was made available for the public, private, and Alternative Learning System learners.
The agency has partnered with telecommunications companies to help learners, teachers, and personnel gain access to the platform easily since it was made free from any data charges.
It also secured a partnership with Globe Telecom to add the Globe E-library as one of the DepEd Common’s features.
Meanwhile, DepEd TV was able to produce 130 video lectures that covered major subjects from Kindergarten to Grade 10. Earlier this year, DepEd TV was awarded the Most Outstanding Thematic Presentation by the SIGNIS Asia TV Conference held in South Korea.
DepEd also continued to provide mental health and psychological support services (MHPSS) to its personnel and learners. This is one of the priorities of the Department.
Aside from materials developed, the agency’s disaster risk reduction and management service reinforced the initiative by producing weekly MHPSS episodes for different audiences. It also assisted and provided psychological first aid to quarantined and isolated personnel due to Covid-19.
MHPSS Programs T.A.L.A.: Tuklasin, Alamin, Likhain at Alalahanin for elementary learners and OKKK! Tambayan (Online Kahusayan at Katatagan ng Kabataan) for secondary learners provided avenues for learners to cope with the effects of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Kakaiba-yanihan for learners with disabilities and their guardians and TAYO Naman!: Tulong, Alaga, Yakap at Oras for DepEd personnel encouraged viewers to develop positive coping mechanisms and build safe environments for their loved ones and communities.
Overall, these MHPSS programs have garnered 1.27 million supporters in views.
The education department has also established the National Academy of Sports (NAS) that aims to develop more future world-class Filipino student-athletes and increase youth interest in sports.
Created through Republic Act 11470, the NAS has started taking shape under the leadership of Education Secretary Leonor Briones, who is also the academy’s Chair of the Board of Trustees.
The NAS is envisioned to be at the forefront of global sports development and education with the goal of producing well-rounded student-athletes whose potentials shall bring pride and honor to our country.
The NAS is set to open next month. In collaboration with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the academy has started its search for promising young student-athletes who will be offered full scholarships in secondary education. The NAS’s annual search for competent, exceptional, notable and talented student-athlete scholars will identify talented Filipino student-athletes from all sectors of society, including indigenous people, persons with disabilities, and other marginalized groups.
The DepEd chief has also administered the oath-taking of pioneer NAS officials, including Executive Director Josephine Joy Reyes, Deputy Executive Director Emil Arroyo, and System Registrar and Board Secretary Mary Grace Ramoy.
Meanwhile, the Department of Education-National Employees’ Union (DepEd-NEU) lauded the DepEd management for addressing some issues and concerns of
DepEd-NEU president Atty. Domingo Alidon noted that Secretary Briones has included
non-academic and academic welfare and benefits in her 10-point agenda.
“That’s No. 8 in her [Briones] agenda,” Alidon said.
He also said that DepEd management conducts consultation with the grassroots of their issues and concerns to accurately get their real plight.
“That’s why we have DEACO (DepEd Employees Associations Coordinating Office), the coordinating office to all organizations in DepEd,” Alidon said.
The education department has also signed a Collective Negotiation Agreement (CNA) on 2 May 2018 which aims to enhance the welfare program for DepEd employees.
“It’s now being subject of renegotiation,” Alidon said.
For the first time, DepEd has purchased SIM cards for teachers and vehicles for all division offices, Alidon added.