DepEd admits early pregnancy, lack of teachers remain a serious concern

Maris Federez   •   September 13, 2019   •   936

File photo of a public school teacher

The budget allocated for the Department of Education (DepEd) for the year 2020 is around P551-billion.

This is higher than the current department budget.

At Thursday’s Senate hearing on the proposed DepEd budget, as senators questioned the country’s quality of education, Secretary Leonor Briones admitted that the inadequate number of teachers remains a problem.

“Definitely size matters. The size of Finland, the size of Singapore, the size of the Philippines. 27 million learners, 900 thousand teachers,” Briones claimed.

The DepEd chief added that the department also considers early pregnancy as another serious problem.

“Ang instruction kasi ng President is: starting age 9, umpisahan na ang pagturo ng reproductive health [The president’s instruction was: starting age 9, we should start teaching reproductive health]. We’re taking it seriously and we are working closely with the Department of Health,” Briones said.

The Commission on Population report showed that the rate of teenage pregnancy in the country remains high, with close to 196,000 Filipinos age 15 to 19 getting pregnant every year.  (from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Briones: Report that ‘70,000 students in Bicol cannot read’, an exaggeration

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 17, 2020

Deped Secretary Leonor Briones

Department of Education (Deped) Secretary Leonor Briones said the Deped Bicol region report about 70,000 students that cannot read is an exaggeration.

Briones slammed the results of pretests administered by the Philippine Informal Reading Inventory (Phil-IRI).

“Tinawagan ko kanina ang regional director sa Bicol, ang sabi niya less than 5% lang. Hindi naman ganoon kadami. Medyo insulto iyon sa mga taga-Bicol (I called the regional director in Bicol, he said it’s only less than 5%. That is not a lot. That is an insult to the people of Bicol),” she said.

The Education Secretary also said there are numerous factors in determining the level of comprehension and level of understanding of a child.

Deped plans to release a more accurate report once they conducted a validation. Briones also said that Deped has a program to increase the reading literacy in the country.

She also advised the media to be careful in interpreting and reporting the Phil-IRI.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

DepEd suspends February national, regional events amid novel coronavirus threat

Robie de Guzman   •   February 5, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education(DepEd) announced it has postponed its national and regional events initially scheduled in February as part of its preventive measures amid the threat of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

During a Senate hearing Tuesday, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said the decision is aimed at protecting teachers, students and their family members against the virus as school events often draw crowds from all regions.

In a separate advisory, DepEd said that among the suspended February events until an unspecified date are the National School Press Conference (NSPC) in Tuguegarao, Cagayan and the National Festival of Talents (NFOT) in Ilagan, Isabela.

Also postponed are events such as the National Science and Technology Fair (NSTF) to be held in Metro Manila, as well as regional athletic meets like the Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association supposed to be held in Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental.

The department, however, said that the Palarong Pambansa athletic meet, which is slated in May, will still push through.

DepEd also said that official travels of its personnel and learners for this month to countries with confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV are revoked.

In a memorandum released Monday evening, the department also outlined the actions that schools should take to protect students and staff from the deadly virus.

These include the formation and activation of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) in DepEd regional offices and schools; a preventive alert system, and the strict compliance of preventive measures set by the Department of Health that aims to stem the spread of the virus in schools and other institutions.

It also urged school administrations to educate individuals on how to guard themselves against influenza and other seasonal diseases.

The Philippines has three confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV, with one death.

Chinese public health authorities on Wednesday reported the virus has killed 490 people with a total 24,324 confirmed cases.

Deped creates task force on 2019-nCoV ARD

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 3, 2020

The Department of Education (DepEd) has formed a task force in response to the novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (nCoV ARD).

Based on DepEd Memorandum no 11 s. 2020, the task force is created to lead the overall efforts of the department in addressing the situation.

“[DepEd] stands ready to contribute to the overall Philippine government efforts for the management of this public health situation,” the memorandum states.

Several responsibilities of the task force include:

  • Cooperate with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases in the Philippines on overall Philippine government efforts on addressing the nCoV ARD;
  • Coordinate with the DOH for the implementation of its guidelines in response to the situation, including any decision for school/office lockdown or suspension of classes/work in specific localities should a need arise;
  • Promulgate standard protocols in response to the nCoV ARD in DepEd offices and schools, as well as in activities organized, or participated in, by the Department, which may include travel restrictions if necessary;
  • Issue advisories which may contain policy directives for implementation and compliance by all DepEd units;
  • Establish a system to monitor the situation in the Central Office (CO), field offices and schools and regularly meet for assessment and adjustments of existing policy issuances, guidelines, or protocols;

Several schools and universities have already advised its students arriving from China to self-quarantine for two weeks.—AAC

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