Robredo urges DepEd to realign budget to fund blended learning, address health concerns

Robie de Guzman   •   August 13, 2020   •   386

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo has urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to realign the items in its budget to finance the distance learning program and respond to the needs of teachers and students as the country shifts to a blending learning system amid the pandemic.

In a letter dated August 10 addressed to DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones, Robredo said the department must realign its P29-billion budget for rehabilitation of school buildings to procure gadgets and other equipment for distance learning and hazard pay for teachers.

“Around P29.5 billion was earmarked for the rehabilitation of school buildings for 2020. Given the shift to distance learning, many of these school buildings will be left without children to occupy them, thus deprioritizing the need for the rehabilitation of physical spaces,” she said.

“This amount can be used to procure the needed gadget and equipment for distance learning as well as address the health concerns of educators,” she added.

Robredo also noted that 61% or around 14 million households do not have access to the internet, adding that 74% or some 34,700 schools do not have the infrastructure to engage in online learning.

“While we understand that the department has set up the DepEd Commons learning platform for students to access lessons on their worn, we have received reports that only 7 million students have so far subscribed to this platform,” she said.

“This constitutes only 35% of the estimated 20 million public school students in the country,” she added.

Aside from access to internet connection and self-learning modules, Robredo also called on DepEd to protect the health and safety of educators by conducting mass testing, with testing and distribution of results done before classes start; providing sufficient fund for physical check-up and medicine; providing supplies such as personal protective equipment, hand sanitizers, among others; distributing hazard pay on time, and; establishing a system for the health and wellness needs of the teachers.

She said such initiatives can be funded by realigning DepEd’s P700 million budget allotted for teachers’ trainings.

“Many of these trainings have already, or will be, shifted to online modalities, thus freeing up resources that would otherwise have been used for travel and accommodations,” Robredo said.

“Rest assured that we understand the complexity of the challenges before us. We submit these insights and recommendations in the spirit of solidarity so that we may all, as one nation, build the better normal that our people deserve,” she added.

In response to the vice president’s recommendations, Briones said they cannot just make any significant realignment in their budget without consulting the Department of Budget and Management.

She also said they have allotted P9 billion fund for the reproduction of modules and that these have been forwarded to DepEd regional and division offices.

Briones likewise assured they have laid out programs to ensure the safety and health of educators as she reiterated that no face-to-face classes will be implemented amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have been paying hazard pay before COVID-19 for teachers who are in places na malayo ang sasakyan, malayo sa urban area. May standard kasi yan,” she said.

“Ulitin ko walang face-to-face until hangga’t walang vaccine yun ang sinasabi ni president; therefore, the teachers will not be exposed as a result of teaching. If they will be exposed, there might be other causes,” she added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

DepEd, nangangailangan ng learner support aides para sa darating na pasukan

Robie de Guzman   •   September 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Balak ng Department of Education (DepEd) na kumuha ng learner support aides (LSA) na makakatuwang ng mga guro sa pagsasagawa ng learning modalities sa darating na pasukan.

Ayon kay DepEd Undersecretary Jess Mateo, bahagi ng tungkulin ng LSAs ay tumulong sa mga guro sa paggabay sa mga mag-aaral o magulang pagdating sa learning modality. Tutulong din sila sa paghahanda at paghahanda ng mga aralin at pagbabantay sa pag-aaral ng mga estudyante.

“Ang unang-una po is to support the teachers and parents para sa paghahatid ng basic education services doon sa mga learners natin in this new normal. Pangalawa po, ita-tap natin yung potential qualified individuals among households within the community let me emphasize within the community para sa ganun ma-prevent natin yung transmission,” ang pahayag ni Mateo.

Ayon sa DepEd, maaaring mag-apply bilang LSA ang nakatapos sa Senior High School o nakapasok ng dalawang taon sa kolehiyo.

Dapat ay nasa 21 taon hanggang 59 taong gulang at kung maaari ay nakatira sa komunidad na may paaralan.

Prayoridad sa mga kukuning LSA ang mga nag-apply sa DepEd nitong School Year 2020-2021 ngunit hindi nabigyan ng provisional appointment dahil walang available na plantilla teaching item.

Maging ang mga guro sa pribadong paaralan na nawalan ng trabaho dahil sa pansamantalang pagsasara sa gitna ng pandemiya ay maaari ding mag-apply bilang LSA.

Ang learner support aide ay maaaring tumanggap ng buwanang sahod mula P6,000 hanggang P11,000 depende sa minimum daily wage sa kanilang lugar. Ang pondo para rito ay maaaring kunin sa special education fund o maintenance and other operating expenses ng mga paaralan.

Magtatrabaho sila sa ilalim ng anim na buwang job order ngunit maaari naman itong ma-renew.

“Sa usapin naman ng compensation ang tinitignan po natin dito ay nasa halagang P6,000 to P11,000 kasi po ito yung daily minimum daily wage set by the national wage productivity commission, iba-iba po yan,” ani Mateo.

Sa mga interesadong aplikante, maaari silang pumunta o tumawag sa mga Schools Division Office ng DepEd upang magsumite ng requirement para sa selection at assessment process.

Ayon sa DepEd, ang Schools Division Offices na ang bahalang magpasya kung ilang LSA ang kanilang kukunin depende sa pangangailangan. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Dante Amento)

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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