Mr. Wilfredo Cabral, NCR Regional Director, DepEd
What were the gains in terms of our insights and realization in the implementation of the basic education learning and continuity plan in the previous school year? One is the readiness of our schools to invest and strategize in implementing distance learning and I’d like to point out that teachers are the best reflection of resilience, given the difficulties and challenges they were able to pull this through. I would like to highlight the support of our stakeholders, particularly our local government units, because this will not happen without their support as well, particularly on signing up our students to distance learning using the remote enrollment process and collaboration and partnership with our barangays, local government units and other stakeholders. We were able to enlist, register and enroll all of our learners to distance learning modality. We were able to organize teachers and learners in a class with primary consideration for teachers and learners some of which are on the qualifications of their proximity in the neighborhood and their preferences and of course our learners to ensure equity using block sectioning for those in the system looking at the neighborhood catchment areas and learning modality preferences. There are some approaches using one class-one modality or modality across classes and we consider their access to technology one of which is class within classes. We were able to simplify based on needs and preferences.
Teachers, school principals, and all levels of governance were able to ensure that learning delivery, support, and assessments were available and accessible. One of the many practices that our division’s schools were able to implement—the use of integrative assessment, school learning clinics, centralized learning portal, some sort of kumustahan sessions with parents who served as tutors or learning assistance at home and the use of several platforms. We also recognized gaps between the actual and the desired and there is need to strengthen support mechanisms, such as the contextualization of defined parameters.
In terms of basic input, we looked at how our learners and teachers are provided opportunity and availability of learning modules and how to navigate from the many sources that we have and in the household structural support, the working parents and those who are balancing household and supporting learners at home, and availability of learning space. I would like to point out that we allow the hiring of learning support aids in areas that demand presence of learning assistants and we look that as an intervention to address this gap.
Learners and parents’ behavior: some of the learners were unable to finish the assigned tasks on time because of the volume of the modules and the activities they have to accomplish, there were instances that these were returned unanswered and no show without notice. In response, we allowed more time for our leaners to accomplish their work. Some parents’ behavior was not responsive, not even answering calls.
Teachers, as I have said had difficulty navigating blended distance learning and deciding appropriate materials from different sources. It takes them more time to stay longer than usual because they have to address concerns coming from parents and learners. We recognize these gaps and acknowledge and accept losses pertaining to teachers and learners in the loss of contact time, achievement and confidence level of learning outcomes. Most particularly, the coverage of intended learning competencies, the contact time, low level of confidence, and notable difficulty in teaching and learning subject areas, like Mathematics, English, Science, TLE and EPP. This has been reflected in the results of the LAMP and this acknowledgement of losses will be addressed next school year. Probably some may ask why MAPE Music Arts and PE and Health appear to be difficult. Simply because of the different components of the different subjects and most require performance tasks and completion is quite a challenge for many of our learners. TLE/EPP–simply because this requires the use of tools and equipment and performance tasks and demonstration of the learning competencies. Mathematics, English, and Science, as we well know, are challenging subjects even in pre-pandemic times.
What we do is to have the plan adjustment new stage experience that we had in School Year 2020-2021 as the benchmark and ensure that those losses are key considerations in the adjustments to the basic education learning continuity plan using best practices, processes, and initiatives from the previous school year which can be retained and scaled across the region for a more responsive learning continuity plan. The implementation of blended learning: we initiated an end to end preparation of a spectrum of curriculum instruction and assessment in all learning modalities. We strive to optimize the use of available learning platforms and ensure that there will be less dependence on printed modules. And because of the introduction and combination of all these learning modalities available to learners, we initiated teacher training, part of which is an estimated plan so that we know how much we can prepare and how many activities can be funded to ensure that this learning continuity plan will be responsive.