DURING his SONA (State of the Nation Address) last July, President Rodrigo Duterte stressed the use of the New Normal system of education because that’s the only way where we can make things easy for everybody, for the Filipinos. We have to innovate because we are living in a world of uncertainties and a world that is more than a global crisis caused by Covid 19 pandemic.
Furthermore, the outbreak of this pandemic in March 2020 prompted DepEd and CHED) to issue an advisory for all schools to suspend classes that caused unprecedented disruptions in the lives of people all over the word. It came unexpectedly where no one was ready enough to brace its impact to society.
As the vice president of our school (IPLC- International Peace Leadership College in Tanay, Rizal province), I was not exempted from restrictions of government. I was asked to pack my things and leave the bunk house on the campus and just to stay at home and await for further notice. I stayed in our house in Antipolo City, Rizal since then.
However as days go on, an increasing number of cases have been observed spreading to various territories and confirmed human-human transmission. The risk of infections has become a primary concern of the government. Graduation exercises have been postponed and suspended and enrollment for the next school year became very irregular and very messy.
The paradigm shift in the teaching and learning process in the country necessitates higher education institutions to find ways and means for students to continue studying. Classes have been suspended for months and for almost five to six months. Heads of schools were in a quandary as to when to open classes or how to enrol students and so on and so forth. How to avoid the spread of this virus and how to welcome students wanting to stay in school to continue and finish their studies.
Thus, to address this question, CHED and DepEd came up with strategy, the flexible or blended learning approach. This strategy uses the delivery method of distance education depending on the availability of devices to use, equipment and technology.
Flexible learning is a learner-centered approach that is deeply rooted in the needs of the students. The purpose of this is to provide the students with the most flexible learning content, schedules, access and innovative assessment making use of digital and non-digital tools.
How can these higher education institutions implement this flexible learning approach? According to CHED, the school can use printed modules, audio tapes, video tapes, CDs, storage devices, learning packets. In on-line class the teacher can use computer, laptop, smartphones, mobile applications, learning packets The teacher can also use electronic modules, video audio, podcasts, webcasts, and OERs. Mainly, the use of internet based technology, modules and the live and the use of digital platforms or the HEs LMS.
And further to enhance this modern technology for teaching and learning, the University of the Philippines has been inviting schools, colleges and universities to participate in the training of teachers, teacher-trainers on flexible teaching and learning in the New Normal.
There are two groups of trainors, one for trainers and the second is training for the Modules A-C. These participants will be under CHED TRAINING GRANT
Accordingly, it shall continue to assist institutions for effective learning outcomes.