Education officials in Region 12 (Soccksargen) are optimistic about sustaining the mandate to deliver quality education as nearly a million learners in the area embarked on their regular lessons on Monday in various learning modes in line with the formal opening of classes.
Dr. Allan Farnazo, Department of Education (DepEd)-Region 12 director, said the agency’s monitoring showed that the majority of the public schools in the region’s four provinces and five cities were able to start with their classes amid concerns on the rising cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Farnazo said the lessons were delivered based on the preferred learning modalities of the learners, most of whom chose the modular printed mode. The other implemented learning modes are online, blended, radio, and television-based instruction.
“We prepared for this for several months. Rest assured that we are doing everything to ensure that our learners will get proper and quality education despite the challenges that we are facing with the pandemic,” he said in a virtual press conference.
Region 12, which has nine school divisions, has a total of 1,746 elementary and 499 secondary schools, including those offering senior high school programs.
As of last Friday, the agency reported that a total of 1,126,563 learners have already enrolled from elementary to senior high school levels in public schools in the region and 96,551 in private schools.
The figure is about 92 percent of the targeted 1,322,297 enrollees based on last year’s enlistment data. The enrollment data is still expected to increase as local schools are mandated to accept late enrollees until Friday based on a directive from DepEd-12.
Farnazo admitted that not all schools were able to start with their regular classes on Monday due to restrictions imposed by local government units in line with the Covid-19 pandemic.
He specifically cited the Sultan Kudarat division, which was forced to stop the delivery of modules to learners due to an executive order issued by Gov. Suharto Mangudadatu postponing the opening of classes in the area until next year.
Mangudadatu has endorsed the matter to the national Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases for approval.
“We’re trying to make arrangements and doing some negotiations with Sultan Kudarat officials to allow the classes there to start within the week,” Farnazo said.
In other areas, the official said they are regularly conducting health severity risk assessment to ensure that teachers, learners, and other stakeholders are properly protected.
He said the move will allow them to make the necessary adjustments in the distribution of modules and other related activities.
The Department of Health and local authorities had confirmed the local transmission of Covid-19 in parts of Soccsksargen but most of its localities are currently under the modified general community quarantine or low-risk status.
“Most of our teachers right now are on the work-from-home arrangement and we will not allow them to take the risk of going to areas with rising Covid-19 cases,” he said. (PNA)