Jimenez Eyes Long Prep As Class Opening Postponed

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The top education official in Region 7 or Central Visayas on Monday said President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to move the start of classes this school year to October 5 will give teachers more time to prepare for blended or distance learning modalities.

Salustiano Jimenez, Department of Education (DepEd)-7 regional director, said teachers in Central Visayas are ready to implement the Self-Learning Modules (SLMs) as an alternative learning delivery modality on the supposed opening of classes this August 24.

“Based on our meetings that I conducted with all the superintendents in 19 school divisions in the region, actually we are already set for the August 24 opening. They signified they are ready to implement the modalities,” Jimenez told the Philippine News Agency in an interview.

However, he hailed the recommendation of Education Secretary Leonor Briones to postpone the opening of classes due to the ongoing campaign against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

With the postponement, he said teachers will have more time to prepare and address the challenges they are facing with the new modalities of learning due to the pandemic.

“We will not stop preparing until we can implement what we design for the learners. What we do now is dry runs and simulations,” Jimenez said while noting that school children here are excited to embrace the new normal in schooling.

The DepEd-7, he said, will conduct a simultaneous simulation on Tuesday with the 19 division superintendents, to ensure smooth execution of the Self-Learning Modules program on October 5.

He said part of their preparations is finding solutions to the challenges they are facing right now, like the limited movement of their personnel due to restricted public transportation wherein they seek help from the local government units and non-government organizations.

The DepEd-7 is also taking into account the teachers who are senior citizens and not allowed to go out of their homes to prevent them from contracting Covid-19.

Jimenez also admitted that the education sector has been “affected with the universal challenge of poor connectivity” which brought them to thinking of tapping other modalities like pre-recorded radio or television modules.

Meanwhile, he said many of the private schools in Cebu have pushed through with opening their classes after the DepEd-7 issued them permits for this school year as long as “they won’t go into face-to-face learning modality”.

The Malacañang memorandum last August 14 directs DepEd to ensure that all preparations have been made for the “smooth and successful” virtual opening of classes for Academic Year 2020-2021. (PNA)

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