Gatchalian wants probe on quality of DepEd’s lessons for distance learning

Robie de Guzman   •   August 14, 2020   •   333

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is pushing for a Senate inquiry on the content of lessons to be used by the Department of Education (DepEd) for its distance learning program.

Gatchalian issued the statement on Friday after DepEd drew criticisms over some of its episodes containing grammatical and typographical errors.

DepEd started its test broadcast of television episodes on state-run Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC-13) and Solar Learning. However, photos showing a Grade 8 lesson went viral as netizens slammed what some described as “painful” errors in the lesson.

While DepEd already acknowledged the errors and vowed to make improvements on its TV broadcast content, Gatchalian stressed that quality control should not be compromised amid the rush to make learning resources available when classes open.

“We’ll probably have another hearing on the content aspect of distance learning because quality control is very important,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, reiterated that the reach of television makes it a viable tool for distance learning, especially for those who have no available internet connectivity.

Citing information from Dataxis, a global firm specializing in telecom and media business, he said 18.7 million Filipino households have television in 2019, a number that is expected to increase to 20.7 million by 2024.

The lawmaker added that since not all parents can teach their children at home because some of them have not completed schooling, teachers can guide learners through recorded lessons for television. Parents, on the other hand, can ensure that their children are focused on studying.

He noted that some local government units (LGU) have already partnered with local television stations to broadcast recorded lessons.

He cited as an example a local cable service provider in Luna, Isabela which provided two channels for the province’s ‘TV-Eskwela’. One channel will be used for elementary while the other will be for high school learners.

Isabela City in Basilan has also forged a partnership with a local cable service provider to put up ‘TELEdukasyon’.

Under the partnership, the P1,500 cable installation fee is waived and parents will just have to pay for the P350 subscription fee monthly, which gives them access to three channels dedicated to distance learning.

“Sa pagpapatuloy ng edukasyon ngayong panahon ng krisis, hindi lang ang pag-abot sa ating mga mag-aaral ang dapat nating pinag-uusapan. Mahalagang tutukan natin kung paano masisigurong dekalidad ang edukasyon na natatanggap nila kahit na sila ay nasa mga tahanan nila,” Gatchalian said.

Lapid wants nationwide gadget donation, recycling program to help poor students

Robie de Guzman   •   September 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Lito Lapid on Friday said he has filed a bill seeking to establish an “ electronics donation and recycling program” that aims to help students from poor families have tablets and mobile phones needed for distance learning education amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Under Senate Bill No. 1846, Lapid proposes to mandate manufacturers and retailers of electronic gadgets to set up donation and recycling booths in their sales outlets and service centers for the purpose of processing and accepting old electronic devices like laptops and mobile phones that owners want to donate or recycle.

“Maraming mga estudyante at guro ang walang magamit na cellphone o computer habang nasa online classes tayo dahil sa pandemya,” he said in a statement.

“Nag-aalala tayo na ang kawalan ng gadget kasama na ang problema sa internet sa bansa ay maaring maging dahilan para di na lamang tumuloy sa pag-aaral ang ating mga kabataan sa panahong ito ng pandemya kung saan pinatutupad ang distance learning,” he added.

“Maiibsan sana ang kawalang ito ng ating mga mag-aaral kung may magdodonate lamang ng kanilang lumang gadget na gumagana pa naman,” he further stated.

Citing a 2020 study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, Lapid said only 69% of poor households have mobile phones, while only 1% and 6% of poor and low-income families have computers, respectively.

A University of the Philippines study also found that by the year 2021, the number of discarded phones will hit over 24.9 million.

Respondents of the study said they were replacing phones at a rate of once every one to two years.

Under the proposal, gadgets collected from booths that are intended for donation will be forwarded to the Department of Education for distribution to poor students; while the devices intended for recycling will be turned over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-accredited facilities capable of recycling electronic gadgets and its components.

Aside from helping poor students cope with distance learning, Lapid said the measure also seeks to protect the environment by reducing electronic wastes.

“Dalawang mahalagang layunin ang magagampanan ng panukalang ito– protektahan ang ating kalikasan sa pamamagitan ng pagbawas sa pagtapon ng mga lumang electronic devices habang malaking tulong ang inaasahang matatanggap ng mga kapos-palad nating mga estudyante mula sa donasyong gadgets ng ating mga kababayang hangad ding makatulong sa panahong ito ng matinding pagsubok,” he said.

DepEd, iginiit na wala silang pa-contest para mamigay ng libreng gadget

Robie de Guzman   •   September 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Nagbabala ang Department of Education (DepEd) sa publiko na huwag basta maniniwala sa mga kumakalat na scam na nanghihikayat sa pagsali sa anumang contest upang mabigyan ng libreng laptop at smartphones.

Sa isang pahayag, sinabi ng DepEd na hindi ito namimigay ng gadget o libring pocket wi-fi sa pamamagitan ng anumang raffle draw o contest para sa pag-aaral ng mga estudyante.

Ayon sa kagawaran, wala itong pinapayagang grupo o indibibidwal na manghingi ng donasyon kahit nangangailangan ito ng malaking pondo para sa pagpapatupad ng bagong educational program sa gitna ng pandemiya.

Dagdag pa nito, ang mga lokal na pamahalaan at mga kumpanyang katuwang ng DepEd ang namamahagi ng gadget para sa mga mag-aaral ngunit idinadaan ito sa regional at division offices ng ahensiya.

“Ang learning continuity packages na donasyon ng LGUs at lehitimong partners ay ipinamamahagi sa mga mag-aaral at mga guro sa pamamagitan ng DepEd regional and division offices at mga paaralan,” ang wika ng DepEd.

Hinimok ng DepEd ang publiko na agad i-report ang mga scam na may kinalaman sa darating na pasukan sa Public Assistance and Action Center sa pamamagitan ng pagtawag sa 0919-456-0027 at 0995-921-8461 o kaya ay mag-email sa action@deped.gov.ph. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Dante Amento)

DepEd plans to dispense with periodical exams amid pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) is planning to do away with periodical exams to avoid cheating during the conduct of blended learning amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

DepEd Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio said that instead of holding periodical exams, they will focus on written outputs and performance tasks for students learning from their homes.

“While we are trying to also find ways making sure na yung distance cheating is avoided ang pinakauna yata ay talagang makaunawa ang lahat na hindi dapat mahalaga yung mataas na score mas mahalaga yung natutuhan ng bata,” he said.

DepEd earlier appealed to parents and guardians of students to help the department reinforce the value of honesty among students since teachers don’t see them in person.

“Kung sa bahay ay gusto mo maging honest yung anak eh katulong ka sa paggawa ng dishonest output that will be very detrimental into our effrots in shaping our good filipinos, paalala ito pagkakataon natin ang home base learning na ito para turuan ang mga bata ng tamang values,” San Antonio said.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Association of Private Schools Administrators (FAPSA) expressed support for DepEd’s move and assured that they will direct their members to follow the learning assessment scheme.

“Ang pagkukunan ng grade dyan pwede yung perfomance niya sa klase, it could be even oral pagka-grade 5 grade six up to high school lalo na sa senior high pwede na ang essay eh,” Eleazardo Kasilag, FAPSA’s president, said.

DepEd said the opening of classes for the upcoming school year will still push through as scheduled on October 5.

The department earlier reported that over 24 million students have so far enrolled and that around 800 schools have notified to halt operations this year due to the effects of the pandemic. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

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