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Negros teachers, learners gear up for school year ‘like no other’

By Nanette Guadalquiver, October 3, 2020

The Department of Education’s (DepEd) division in Negros Occidental is gearing up for the opening of classes on October 5 in a first-ever school year that will use the distance-learning mode amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Data provided by the division showed that as of September 28, or a week before the start of School Year 2020-2021, enrolment in public schools in all levels has reached 303,218 learners, which is 94.07 percent of the previous year’s 322,346 learners.

Enrolment in private schools, however, is much lower at 12,034 learners, or only 41.78 percent of the 28,800 registered in the past school year.

In the Padayon Edukasyon 2020 virtual briefing, Schools Division Superintendent Marsette Sabbaluca led the presentation of the learning continuity plan of DepEd-Negros Occidental for the incoming school year.

“This 2020-2021 is not like the other school years as we implement for the first time the distance learning modality. We were, of course, not ready, but who‘s ready in this kind of situation? We were not ready for this kind of learning and indeed, it is a daunting task. It is difficult, but as teachers in the education department, we have to be nimble, we have to be creative and come up with strategies,” she said.

DepEd-Negros Occidental covers 499 public elementary schools, 95 public secondary schools, and 139 private schools in the province’s 19 municipalities and two of 12 cities – Talisay and Victorias.

Sabbaluca noted that education should continue – whether in times of war or in times of peace or in normal times or during a pandemic.

“Our goal in the division is to provide responsive and disruption-proof education (with) a common vision of producing young Filipinos imbued with values and passion for our country,” she added.

During the online briefing, four schools presented their respective simulation videos on various distance learning delivery modalities they would use for the incoming school year.
The La Castellana National High School gave a presentation on the printed modality; Negros Occidental Science High School on online modality; Binalbagan Elementary School on digital module modality; and Tagda Elementary School on radio-based instruction.

Schools under DepEd-Negros Occidental conducted distance learning simulation and school readiness assessment from July 1 to September 8 as part of the preparations.

This school year, the DepEd is adopting three learning modalities – modular distance learning, which uses self-learning modules in printed or digital format; online distance learning, which uses the Internet in downloading learning materials and uploading homework; and radio/TV-based instruction for learners who have no Internet connectivity.

Blended learning, which is a mix of online distance learning, modular distance learning, and radio/TV-based instruction, can also be an option for some students.*

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