Due to COVID-19, the public has become more aware of blended and full-distance learning. DepEd quickly implemented these new learning methods in response to the educational necessity of the students amidst the pandemic.
Later, more face-to-face activities were permitted in the country, together with school classes. However, starting November 2, 2022, private schools will be allowed to utilize blended and full-distance learning.
Distance learning is not an entirely new concept. In fact, the most well-known record of this learning system dates back to the 1840s. Instead of using the internet, however, the lessons and activities were all delivered through mailed postcards. The students are then required to return the postcards to be graded. Given the lack of advanced communication tools that we are blessed to have today, the public praised this system for its organization.
Distance learning took many shapes and forms in the past. After postcards came the radio programs, and then they got updated again into televised form. Here in the country, some Filipinos may even vividly remember shows during the 90s, such as Sineskwela, Math-Tinik, and ATBP. Each provided different knowledge and life lessons to prepare children for school.
Afterward, distance learning evolved into Online Learning as it now uses the internet to teach students. However, even though some schools and universities provided this service before the pandemic, many preferred the traditional way. Online learning in the later 2010s was mainly well-known for tutorial means, especially for speaking English. A lot of Asian and non-English speaking countries would access this service. Since many Filipinos are fluent in English, those with good internet connections took this as an opportunity to apply to companies that are looking for English online tutors.
Amidst The Pandemic
Schools utilized different ways of distance and blended learning back when COVID-19 was rampant in the country. Some used the modular method, similar to the “mailed postcard” method from the early days of distance learning. Video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet also became essential as they can accommodate multiple people. That’s why the discussions of lessons were made possible.
Some schools utilized Learning Management Systems (LMS) for organized operations to distribute the lessons and activities to the students. There are LMS available online, but there are schools that can create their own.
Since some areas don’t have internet, the media also helped out by providing educational content for televisions and radios. However, compared to the educational shows from the 90s, the contents were straightforward and didn’t involve costumes and acting. Since the programs were connected to DepEd, the students could get updated on the current lessons of the schools.
Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte have signed DepEd Order (DO) No. 44, 2022. The memorandum states that starting November 2, 2022, private schools are permitted to continue hosting blended or full-distance learning.
The department said, “DepEd is cognizant of the current situation of the private sector due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic — the amount of investment in online learning technologies, the development and institutionalization of best practices on blended learning, and the unfortunate closure of small private schools because of losses,”
DepEd surely prioritized the safety of the students and the economic state of such educational establishments in creating the memorandum. In addition, the inclusion of blended learning was also “to promote academic development and the overall mental health and well-being of our learners.”
On the other hand, DepEd Order No. 34 2022 states that public schools are still expected to conduct full face-to-face classes. However, those affected by natural disasters and exempted by the regional directors are permitted from this order.
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