MANILA - The Department of Education (DepEd) will implement alternative ways of learning, such as lessons given through television and radio, amid the coronavirus disease crisis in the Philippines, Education Sec. Leonor Briones said Thursday night.
Briones, in a briefing in Malacanang streamed online, told President Rodrigo Duterte that since physical classes are unsafe due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DepEd has finalized 3 alternative learning methods or "distance learning modalities".
One is that printed or digital modules can be delivered to the home of students or picked up by their parents at designated areas.
"We will be very closely working with the barangays and local governments," Briones said.
She also proposed using online learning platforms, which have been used by schools during the earlier months of the coronavirus outbreak in the Philippines. Briones said students can use the DepEd Commons, the department's own online learning resource.
"Right now we have over 7 million subscribers, wherein lessons homework, quizzes and tips to learners and teachers are all in DepEd Commons and are accessible even to the parents," she said.
Some parents who are working abroad are subscribed to DepEd Commons to check on their children, Briones said.
Another method she proposed is television or radio-based instruction. Briones said that since resources and transportation of printed modules are limited and that not all teachers and students have computers and internet access for online classes, the DepED can use "classic long-time approaches" which are the use of free TV and radio programs.
"Homes that don't necessarily have internet connectivity may have televisions. And the most and the best-used approach, of course, is radio-based instruction. Kasi ang television mga 1950s, 60s [while] radios have been around since the 1800s," she said.
She said that under the law, 15 percent of free television time should be dedicated to programs designed for children.
"There are already existing educational programs on television stations. What we need to do is to transmit our curricula and we are working out how to do this," Briones said.
The Presidential Communications Operations Office, which manages the flagship state broadcaster, People's Television Network, has volunteered its television facilities for the DepEd's use. The state-owned Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC-13) has also offered its radio stations, Briones said.
PCOO Sec. Martin Andanar earlier said the DepEd can use IBC-13 as an educational platform.
“If the DepEd uses this, then this entire frequency can be dedicated solely to DepEd,” Andanar said in a House panel hearing.
Duterte gave Briones the green light and told her to "feel free" to communicate regarding any problem or dilemma linked to the DepEd's proposals.
"All that you have said is really feasible, radio kung walang television. I believe you have a really workable program," he said.
Since classes were suspended March 10 due to the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases in the country, traditional school systems have not restarted, with online classes taking their place.
Graduation rites on all levels were also either postponed or held online due to mandatory physical distancing.