BY MERLINA HERNANDO-MALIPOT
The Department of Education (DepEd) formally opens School Year 2020-2021 Monday, October 5, after two postponements and a delay of four months from the usual June schedule.
The opening of classes is marked by millions of students trooping to their schools but with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, 22.50 million students enrolled in public schools will stay inside their homes in the first day of classes for SY 2020-2021.
Without face-to-face classes, students will learn their lessons through various alternative delivery modalities with the guidance of their parents and teachers.
Under distance learning, students will take their lessons using printed or digitized modules, online, or through television or radio-based instruction.
Depending on available resources and capabilities, DepEd said that schools are allowed to implement blended learning or a combination of two or more learning delivery modalities.
Latest data from DepEd showed that there are 22.74 million students enrolled in public and private schools which is 89.02 percent of last year’s turnout at 27.7 million.
Private schools have a current enrollment of 2.16 million and have been allowed to start their classes early without in-person and implementing a distance learning approach.
DepEd will welcome SY 2020-2021 through its National School Opening Day Program with a nationwide simultaneous flag-raising ceremony led by Education Secretary Leonor Briones.
Briones will give an inspirational message and formally declare the opening of the new school year amidst the challenges in education brought by the pandemic.
President Duterte will give a recorded message on the school opening.
DepEd Executive Committee members – as well as the service and bureau directors – will be in full force on the ground to monitor the school opening in their areas.
DepEd officials will be on the field and are scheduled to give live updates on the implementation of distance learning during the first day of classes in the different school division offices or schools they will visit.
Panels related to the opening of classes and the implementation of the Basic Education-Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP) will be featured, including “Oplan: Balik Eskwela” (OBE), Health and Safety Protocols, and Education Continuity.
The OBE panel will be led by Undersecretary for Planning Jesus Lorenzo Mateo and Undersecretary for Field Operation Revsee Escobedo. They will be joined by Regional Directors Wilfredo Cabral from Region 4-A (Calabarzon), Ramir Uytico from Eastern Visayas (Region 8), and Arturo Bayocot from Northern Mindanao (Region 10) who will give field updates.
Undersecretary for Administration and DepEd Task Force COVID-19 chairperson Alain del Pascua, alongside Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service (DRRMS) Director Ronilda Co, will discuss the Health and Safety protocols in place for the SY 2020-2021 together with field officials during the second panel.
Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio will give updates and clarify confusions on the conduct of distance learning and explain the existing policies of DepEd. A teacher, a parent, and a learner are also expected to participate to share their hopes and experiences on the new normal of learning for the Education Continuity panel.
In the final panel, Briones will be joined by DepEd Undersecretaries and spokespersons Nepomuceno Malaluan and Annalyn Sevilla for the “Secretary’s Forum” which will tackle pressing matters of DepEd for the school year.
Representatives from World Vision and CVIF-Dynamic Learning Program (DLP) will participate in the panel to discuss their initiatives in partnership with DepEd.
Since the school opening coincides with the World Teachers’ Day (WTD) celebration, Filipino teachers will also be honored during the program as part of the celebration of WTD and National Teachers’ Month (NTM).
DepEd TV teacher-broadcasters Pamela Amor Villanueva of Bagong Silang High School and Jamil Carvajal of T. Paez Integrated School will host the event. The school opening program will be livestreamed at DepEd Philippines and in various partner government institutions and media organizations in social media.