There has been a lot of speculations and anxiety on the opening of classes due to the continued cases reported on the COVID-19 pandemic. This fear should be put to rest since it has already been announced by the Department of Education that there will be no face-to face learning this school year. Many parents are also ambivalent over the alternative learning systems offered in schools, particularly those who cannot afford the online requirements or find home study daunting. In the end, it will be the family’s decision whether or not to enroll their children this school year.
In yesterday’s council session, the manual of guidelines on basic education enrollment was presented by Councilor Pilar Braga, chair of the Committee on Education. The Learning Continuity Plan provides various forms in delivering basic education. In the plan, DepEd will “ensure that learners are enrolled in the system and map their context to provide appropriate learning interventions.” Enrollment procedures will be modified in view of the prevalent health situation.
The learning alternatives are online distance learning, use of education modules, homeschooling, and the use of mass media. There will be a learner mapping survey done during enrollment to determine the capacity of the family to access the kind of alternative learning offered. Three enrollment procedures are offered: 1) teacher-led, which means the teachers contact their former pupils and encode survey information using the learners information sheet, 2) enrollment hotline, a designated staff will receive calls and queries from parents of incoming learners, 3) Physical platforms, or enrollment booths in strategic places where parents can access and submit the Learner Enrollment Survey Forms.
The manual also have specific instructions to parents and learners for transferees and balik-aral enrollees, protocol for modified enrollment, functions and responsibilities of DepEd and schools and well as data privacy on information derived from learners.
Preparation for the opening of classes under this new system is intensive as teachers wrestle with new skills fast, practically within three months. It is prudent to remind the education department to prioritize learners who are already on the fringes of society, so they would not be further pushed aside in this education continuity plan.