MANILA – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday instructed the Department of Education (DepEd) and other relevant agencies to come up with the necessary preparations and planning for the opening of face-to-face classes this year.
The order was designed to address issues that might arise relative to the return to school of millions of students around the country for the coming school year 2022-2023.
In a Cabinet meeting in Malacañang, Marcos asked Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Z. Duterte on plans by DepEd to address several challenges such as the availability of classrooms, teachers, and other concerns.
“Ang gawin na lang natin [ay] i-identify saan ‘yung areas na magbe-blended learning para maka-focus tayo. Ihanda 'yung mga devices at mga kailangan nila na noong pandemic hindi nasu-supply- an sa mga bata,” Marcos said.
“We continue with blended learning pero in very specific places lamang. As much as possible, face-to-face na talaga,” the chief executive added.
This came after the issue on whether DepEd should do away with blended learning beyond Oct. 31 was raised during the meeting, considering the challenges that the department is facing.
Based on the recent DepEd order, blended learning shall no longer be implemented beyond Oct. 31, as the department adopts a policy seeking the full implementation of the five-day in-person classes.
Other issues mentioned by the President include internet connectivity and the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the country, which is driven by the emergence of new variants of the coronavirus.
He was concerned that those issues might affect the implementation of in-person learning, but was he was nevertheless determined to proceed with the plan.
During the same Cabinet meeting, the President directed concerned agencies to rebuild and repair school buildings destroyed by Typhoon Odette last year.
Marcos said the government will be forced to continue carrying out blended learning if major concerns are not addressed, suggesting, however, that the scheme could be done in some areas.
The education secretary told the President that DepEd will prepare a plan on what to do beyond Oct. 31.
Citing a recent survey, Duterte said majority of the respondents favored in-person classes for the country’s learners. (PND)