Doubtless, the Department of Education has much to do between now and October 5, the announced opening of classes after authorities re-scheduled it from August 24, with the pandemic still exhaling its deadly virus on the population.
As DepEd geared up for its launch of the school readiness program for distance learning on August 11, the first day of the test broadcast of its television episodes which run up to August 21 got to a grating, if jangling, start.
DepEd has decided to shift to distance learning to comply with the President's order that schools postpone face-to-face classes until a coronavirus vaccine has become available.
A shrilling start is a euphemism, which many education observers have noted, including, but not limited to, what they described as “painful” grammar errors, chased by a vow from DepEd to improve TV episodes for distance learning.
Between now and the eve of the opening of classes, we wonder how much and what quality of modules would be prepared in 50 days. We note that some areas are still under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine and others under General Community Quarantine.
We have reports many teachers don’t have on their tables copies of learning modules.
Where there are, as those flown out to the north of the country, the modules for the lower grade levels are in Tagalog and must be posthaste translated into Iloko, and teachers – not ready and this fact was never acknowledged when the K-12 curriculum was imposed – are having a hard time translating the modules in the language of their region.
Our imagination glides with the same incredulity for those in the south, where Tagalog should be taught only in higher grades.
Earlier, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones, referring to RA 7797, underlined the opening could not be moved farther for legal reasons, saying another delay would have a negative impact on the educational system.
We are gladdened that the opening of classes had been moved to October 5, but while we know there is commitment on the part of DepEd to correct or revise what had been seen by netizens and others who watched the maiden episode as “lapses” during the broadcast, there is this lingering arriere pensee, as it were, to come up with quality materials in so short a time poses a leviathan challenge.
Earlier on, senators urged the postponement of classes especially in areas under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine, with reports from DepEd more than 23 million have enrolled for academic year 2020-2021.
Between now and the eve of the opening of classes for the distance learning, we want to see DepEd draw out plans on how to ensure the safety of their teachers and the quality of their modules minus, but definitely, the glaring grammar lapses which should be immediately addressed.
The challenges are overpowering.