The mere thought that 30,000 public school pupils and students will go back to school this month or the next, in Dumaguete alone, could be the biggest nightmare in the wake of the current Covid19 Pandemic.
But DepEd Regional Director Dr Salustiano Sal Jimenez told the CHRONICLE in an exclusive interview that DepEd will continue the frontiers of education even in the midst of the biggest challenge of all times, the threat of Covid19 Pandemic.
The tall and daring order according to Dr Jimenez is to implement the new normal which is the on-line education and the no face-to-face classes which require new modules both still to familiarize teachers, supervisors and students.
DepEd covers Kindegarten , Grade l to 7, to 11 and 12. Central Visayas has 2.3million students in public schools; l.7million students in private schools. Half million students for the crucial grades of kindergarten, grades 1, 7 and 11—which have 565,000 population.
A local educator commented:
How can the 200,000 pupils in Negros Oriental; 30,000 students in Dumaguete public schools and the same number in private schools be assured of a safe return to their classrooms?
And how can you create a conducive scholastic or academic atmosphere nationwide among 40Million students all over the country when the Dept of Education does not have enough resources and time, both to resume classes and accustom parents and students to the new normal?
Non-face to face classes is already nightmare enough.
Half of its population will hold classes on-line at home while the other half will report to their classes maintaining social distance.
How can teachers split their numbers, one group teaching on line and the other group teaching modules in classrooms.
Dr Jimenez said students will have only 20 in a class so the rest will tandem with the other 20 students who will study at home and to school alternately the next day.
Then the problem of transporting teachers, students alike will be another nightmare which would need the help of the LGUs which include the trip back to their houses riding those LGU buses.
Some modules will have to be delivered to students houses who cannot be accommodated in classrooms due to social distancing.
ON-AIR MODULES and Newspaper prints supplements will trasnsmit materials to the schools thru modules.
However, the destree of Computer LITERACY of teachers vis-a-vis with students will also be another challenge as most cell phones are simple talk and text and no wi fi capabilities.
Another is the non-availability of wifi in the mountains which is yet next to impossible.
PRINTING OF MODULES
By RYAN SOROTE
The Department of Education (DEPED) Dumaguete City Division is asking help from the City Hall in the production of learning materials for the opening of classes on August 24, 2020.
Dr. Gregorio Cyrus Elejorde, Dumaguete City Schools Division Superintendent said they need funds for the production of modules for public school students.
Elejorde could not yet provide the estimate of the funding they need, but it would be in “millions.”
He said though they have funding from the national government, he claim it won’t be enough. There are around 30,000 public school students in Dumaguete City, with most of them needing printed modules for their learning in the new normal set by the government.
Elejorde said they have yet to finish the online survey with students to identify how many printed modules they need before the start of the school year. “We have a budget but the bulk of our budget will go to the printing of modules,” he said in Bisaya.
An estimated 80% of students in Dumaguete City have access to computers, gadgets, and internet connection, but they still need to produce printed modules for those using phones, he said.
“Students can’t use their mobile phones for hours. They have to rest and use printed modules,” Elejorde said. Students with resources can print their own learning materials.
DEPED Dumaguete is also planning to put-up “printing kiosks” in barangays where students can print learning materials for free. “They could just go to these kiosks and bring with them paper for printing,” Elejorde said. Aside from the City Hall, Elejorde also appealed for help from the private sectors in the production of learning materials.
The printed modules will be for the offline learning approaches DEPED Dumaguete is finalizing as part of the “independent learning” of students. “Students can work online in groups. But they would most of the time do independent learning through the printed modules,” Elejorde said.
DEPED has planned for resumption of some face-to-face classes in low risk areas but President Rodrigo Duterte ordered it stopped due to the current pandemic. (By Ryan Christopher Sorote)