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Dropping out?

The Department of Education has taken pains to dispute claims that many students have dropped out in the middle of the school year due to blended learning.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) earlier warned against a looming massive dropping out of students, citing reports of unclaimed or unanswered modules, as well as dwindling attendance to online classes.

But according to DepEd, learners did not drop out from school, but either shifted from one mode of learning to another or migrated from one geographical location to another.

“Learners’ migration is observed due to the economic impact of the pandemic. Data showed that students have either moved from city to provincial schools or from private to public schools,” DepEd said.

“Other learners, meanwhile, have decided to shift from solely modular to blended learning, wherein they can also tap into television, online and radio resources available at their respective schools,” it added.

The agency also cited the slow return of students to schools after the holiday season, noting that this is something that has been observed annually. It added that it is continuously implementing academic ease measures to help families, students and teachers who are still adjusting to the distance learning setup.

ACT secretary general Raymond Basilio said their member teachers are worried about the waning student participation in the government’s distance learning program.  They are hoping that DepEd would be equally concerned about the matter and act swiftly to address the grave education crisis we face today.

They cited a survey conducted by the Movement for Safe, Equitable, Quality and Relevant Education that showed 70.9 percent of 1,395 teacher respondents are not confident that the competencies set by DepEd under distance learning are actually being developed. Only 4 percent said that all of their students are keeping up with lessons while 57 percent said a segment of their class is falling behind.

Problems are to be expected from the distance learning program that was hastily implemented because of the pandemic and it is the duty of the DepEd to continuously adjust the program to maximize the benefit to learners and teachers. The agency should be ready for reports of students dropping out and being left behind and come up with appropriate measures to confirm if such reports are accurate and also apply the necessary adjustments.

The DepEd is responsible for the education of Filipino learners, come hell, high water or pandemic. We are not expecting it to come up with the best system in the world, but at the very least, whatever system that has been put in place for now should be continuously improving instead of losing students.*

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