The country’s education chief assured on Monday, June 8, that blended learning is achievable as it has been around for years and is already being offered in some schools and universities, a fact that supports the Department of Education’s (DepEd) stand that it is well prepared to implement alternative learning amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones, who is the resource person at the press briefing of Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr., stressed that the education department is prepared to transition from face-to-face learning to blended learning.
Secretary Briones said that the distance learning and blended learning concepts have been around for decades so there should be no doubt as to the DepEd’s preparedness to implement the said teaching and learning modalities.
“As a parent I am inspired and confident that our children can continue to learn during these times of crisis,” said Secretary Roque, who gave his full support to DepEd’s blended learning modality.
In the said media briefing, the Secretary of Education also reiterated the President’s support to DepEd in implementing blended learning at this time of COVID-19. She said that the President even said that he will give additional funds for the program if needed.
Blended learning, according to the Education chief is a combination of varied approaches to teaching and learning, and will be adjusted based on the situation and/or needs of the school and the students.
On the issue of possible problems with the lack of laptops, desktop computers or gadgets to be used with distance learning and teaching, Secretary Briones said that they conducted a survey on teacher readiness and it showed that some 687,000 teachers of the 788,000 respondents said that they do have computers or laptops at home.
While for students, the Education Secretary said that part of the online registration form asked students if they have computers, laptops or gadgets, even television or radio that they can use, or if they have none at all. She said that the result of this survey will determine how the teachers will adjust their teaching modality for the students.
They are encouraging private partners to support the need for gadgets to be used in learning, instead of the usual school supplies that they donate or give to students at the start of a school year.
Basic education enrollment, which was fully done online, has started on June 1 and as of June 8, DepEd reported that there are now some 6.4 million students registered. Meanwhile, a second registration or enrollment schedule is set on the second week of June for those who have interconnectivity problems, said Secretary Briones.
In the same media briefing, Secretary Roque introduced the newly appointed Undersecretary of the Department of Health (DOH) Dr. Leopoldo “Bong” Vega, Medical Chief of Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), who is credited for establishing a heart institute in SPMC.
“Nandoon po ako sa Davao nang sinabi Presidente na itatalaga niya kayo (Usec Vega) bilang undersecretary ng Department of Health,” said Secretary Roque adding that President Duterte commended the incoming DOH official for transforming and expanding SPMC.
On the President’s mandate to him as DOH Undersecretary, Dr. Vega said that he was tapped to ensure that the services and commitments of the DOH are fulfilled. He added that his priorities would be to ensure proper coordination with other agencies and harmonize with the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases in responding to the needs of the public with regards to the COVID-19 situation. ### OPS-PCOO