DepEd hybrid lesson plan for 31M students sought

THE Department of Education (DepEd) should now work closely to form a blended and hybrid lesson plan for 31 million students amid coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19). 

"The government has three months until August to finish its 'greatest homework' of adjusting the school system to the pandemic reality, which is to prevent some 31 million students from physically attending classes in packed school," said Deputy Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman.

Hataman said the government can use the run up to the mid-August opening of classes to prepare both public and private schools for the "new education normal" and come up with a "blended and hybrid" plan for "students of all needs."

“To use a teaching term, they have two months to write the ‘new lesson plan’ of education in the time of coronavirus, and it is not an easy task.

The government should now pool its brightest minds to try and solve this pandemic puzzle and allow for an efficient education system without exposing students, teachers and school employees to risks," Hataman, former governor of the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), expressed.

"At kung anuman ang maging plano for students, definitely dapat 'no vaccine, no physical classes' ang mangyari. Because for as long no vaccine against COVID-19 is available, our children will face mortal danger if they are told to physically return to school," Hataman pointed out.

"I am also an advocate of mass testing. Hanggang walang mass testing na nangyayari, lalong dapat nating hindi payagan na bumalik sa eskwelahan ang mga bata," said Hataman. But the four-term Basilan lawmaker also stated that allowing students to stay idle while the world waits on a vaccine is counter-productive, and should not be the case. “Mass vaccination is the requisite for the universal return to schools. But, on the other hand, children will suffer if their schooling will stop. Hence, the need for alternative forms in which students will learn outside the traditional classroom setting,"

Hataman stressed.

"Hindi naman pwedeng naka-tengga lang ang mga bata sa bahay habang wala pang bakuna. Paano kung abutin ito ng isang taon, isang taon din ba silang titigil? I don't agree with this. We have to do something to allow our kids to keep on learning. Kaya dapat ang DepEd ay mag-isip ng alternative forms of learning," said Hataman.

Hataman asserted that teaching now joins “testing, transport and trabaho” as the four urgent tasks of the country, as he lauded DepEd and CHED for preparing a guide to a “blended and hybrid” new kind of teaching, which combines online courses, mass media instruction, traditional in-school classes, and home visits, among other modalities.

He explained that the main challenge is how teachers will pick from the “cafeteria of learning options” and apply it to a learner based on the latter’s geographic location, home environment, socioeconomic status, and digital infrastructure, to cite just a few considerations.

"Another reason why home-based learning will be the new mode of education are the problems our children will likely face if they return to school in droves. Yung pagsakay ng jeep or tricycle papuntang school, malaking problema yan. Baka doon pa magkahawaan.

Kaya yung dating gawi ay hindi na maari," Hataman explained.

To allow DepEd to shift to the new normal, he pointed out that the “government should spare DepEd from budgetary cuts and just allow it to re-channel its funds to activities that will ensure that the education of our young will not be interrupted."

"The sheer size of the country’s school system call for massive infusion of resources. There are 61,916  public and private K-12 schools  On the tertiary level, there are 242 state and local universities and colleges and 1,721 private institutions.

As to enrollees, there are 27.8 million in basic education this school year, plus 2.9 million in tertiary education. Ganito karami ang apektado," Hataman surmised.

"DepEd's strategy should be blended and draws from several sources. Kung kailangang maghatid ng libro sa bahay ng mga bata, gawin. Kung kailangang gamitin ang mga local radio stations para sa lessons, i-tap natin sa mga lugar ng bundok o walang internet. Kaya importante na pag-isipan itong mabuti," Hataman explained.