MANILA – President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Thursday raised doubt over the country’s preparedness to implement blended learning in the coming school year to allow students to continue their studies amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
In a recorded speech aired on state-run PTV-4 on Friday morning, Duterte admitted that he is unsure whether the country is ready for the shift to blended learning.
He made the remarks, even as he acknowledged that Education Secretary Leonor Briones has come up with a “very good” proposal to be implemented in response to the Covid-19 crisis.
“Secretary Briones is insisting that there should be an alternative there. And she has a very good program for that. Parang (It’s like) teleconferencing. The technology is good. I do not know if we are ready for that,” Duterte said.
On May 28, Malacañang expressed confidence that the Department of Education (DepEd) is ready for the scheduled opening of classes on August 24, despite the threat posed by the Covid-19 outbreak.
DepEd has sought the shift to blended learning in the coming school year.
Blended learning is an approach that would allow learners to study through electronic and online media, as well as traditional face-to-face classes.
Briones earlier assured Duterte and the public that the opening of school does not mean face-to-face classes would resume.
She said students can access learning materials through printouts or online.
For learners who have no access to the Internet, they can be reached through television or radio, Briones said.
Duterte, however, acknowledged that the country lacks available resources for millions of learners.
“But if she (Briones) asks and we can afford it, we will buy it, and she can proceed with her novel idea of how children can continue with their education,” he said.
Duterte noted that for now, he still prefers the resumption of classes once a vaccine against Covid-19 is available.
“We have to wait for the vaccine. Maghintay talaga tayo sa vaccine. Sabi ko naman sa inyo, walang vaccine, walang eskwela (I told you, if there’s no vaccine, there’s no class opening),” he said.
On Thursday, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading a bill allowing Duterte to move the opening of classes beyond August 2020. (PNA)