MANILA, Oct 18 (Mabuhay) — The Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday said the mandatory daily face-to-face classes in all public schools will push through as scheduled on November 2, while private schools may continue with bleanded learning.

Vice President and Secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd) Sara Duterte during her inauguration ceremony. (MNS photo)

In a statement, the agency said all public schools must adhere to the full implementation of DepEd Order (DO) No. 44, except for those having “alternative delivery modes” due to calamities and disasters.

“After the said date, no public school shall be allowed to implement purely distance learning or blended learning, except for those that are expressly provided an exemption by the Regional Director, those whose classes are automatically canceled due to disaster and calamities,” it said.

The DepEd underscored the need for in-person classes for the holistic well-being of learners in the country, after over two months of transition since August 22, as indicated in DO No. 44.

“The Department of Education maintains its confidence in the benefits of holding in-person classes to promote academic development and the overall mental health and well-being of our learners. Several published studies point to the indisputable fact that in-person classes remain the best option for basic education,” the DepEd said.

The latest data shows that around 90 percent of 47,000 public schools nationwide have been conducting in-person classes alongside distance learning modalities during the transition period.

Blended learning options

Besides disaster-affected schools, the DepEd will also allow the provision of learning mode options for private schools beyond November 2, considering the challenges they face.

“DepEd is cognizant of the current situation of the private sector due to the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic (Covid-19) – 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,” it added.

Allowed options for private schools include “five-day in-person classes; blended learning modality’ three-days in-person and two days distance learning and four-days in-person then one-day distance learning; and full distance learning”.

The DepEd also vowed to speed up the review of blended learning modalities to “address learning issues.”

Earlier, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte said learning gaps were incurred during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic when pure distance learning was being implemented.

However, Duterte thanked Filipinos as the support was continuously provided, especially for the pushing of a gradual transition to in-person classes nationwide, which the DepEd considered the “biggest” achievement of the department for its first 100 days.

“We are still facing so many challenges in the education sector, and we will keep on working hard with the aim of providing accessible, quality, and inclusive basic education for all. We thank the Filipino people for their trust. Your support is essential for the success, not only of the Department but more importantly of our learners,” she said.

Last week, the DepEd ranked third among the most trusted agencies in the government during the third quarter of 2022, according to Pahayag 2022.

The independent and non-commissioned survey was launched by PUBLiCUS Asia Inc. last September 16 to 20. (MNS)