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More distance education?

Education undersecretary for administration, Alain Del Pascua, pushed for the Department of Education to continue delivering distance education online and through broadcast TV even in the post-pandemic new normal, saying that the growing capability and expertise, started during the pandemic, would also address the problem of classroom shortage that is expected to rear its ugly head once more when face-to-face classes eventually resume.

“We need to master distance learning now, making all the necessary improvements and perfecting our processes for the DepEd Commons, DepEd TV, DepEd Radio, the DepEd Learning Management System, the DepEd Mobile App, and others,” Pascua said in a speech at the first-ever Asia Pacific Public Sector Digital Summit.

‘BY ALL MEANS’

“If there are no face-to-face classes, then we have to devise all means to reach out to our learners and bring basic education to them. We have to educate, by all means, we have to teach by all means, and our learners have to learn by all means,” Pascua said.

He also stressed the importance of the Public Education Network, that will fast track the digital connectivity of all public schools and DepEd offices nationwide. It will transform schools into connectivity hubs for all households around it so contents are made available to every learner in the community even without internet bandwidth.

Pascua also hinted at a future DepEd project, that aims to update and pattern DepEd TV after streaming services to allow learners to study their learning materials at their own pace.

An upgraded DepEd that can deliver quality education to all Filipino schoolchildren scattered over 7,107 islands would certainly be a blessing to the country but the first order of business would have to be evaluating the first year of a distance learning program that was clumsily put together by a woefully unprepared DepEd forced to reckon with a global pandemic.

Looking forward to integrating a perfected distance learning program to reach more learners and provide more flexibility while upping the competitiveness of the Filipino student is commendable.

However at this point, we must look back at the failures of the past year so we can do better in the coming year when distance learning that looks like it is still going to be the norm, will have to be the priority.*

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