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Cuevas-Rañada: Pag-eskwela sa 'new normal'

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THE CoVid-19 pandemic continues to create great impact in all sectors of our country. The economy is now experiencing a downward trend, thus, a lot of our countrymen are struggling with their day-to-day lives.

Unemployment is anticipated as most businesses, particularly the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are restricted to conduct business on regular basis. Economically, everybody is adversely affected.

Recently, the Department of Education announced that the resumption for school year 2020-2021 for elementary and secondary students is targeted on August 24, 2020. With the still on-going health crisis, the conduct of classes will utilize several methods of teaching that will limit, if not completely eliminate, the face-to-face interactions between students and teachers.

As a parent with children who attend secondary school, I am apprehensive with this "new normal" in our education system. It is still unclear to many as to how this new educational system will work especially for those who do not have access to computers and the internet. I can only hope that our education department will come up with more specific guidelines in the implementation of this "new normal" education system.

As an educator by profession, there are different ways in delivering education to our students in times of this pandemic. We have distant learning mode, flexible learning mode or blended learning that will be adapted by the different schools right now. The preparation may be tedious since majority of our schools have never tried it. But let us not lose focus that we are still in the middle of health emergency. It is highly encouraged that there is no face-to-face interactions between teachers and students. It is highly encouraged that minors remain at home yet continue with their education.

Distant learning /flexible learning modes are designed teaching our students remotely without being physically present in their schools. They are mainly taught online. It will have synchronous learning style wherein a number of students in class together with their teacher will meet real-time online and discuss. But this online discussion will be on limited time only. Moreover, asynchronous learning style will also be adapted wherein the teacher will give assigned tasks for the student to do and submit on a specific date. Likewise, the students will be guided by modules or handouts for them to understand their lessons more these modules/handouts will be given online by the teachers ahead of time.

The blended mode, according to DepEd Secretary Briones (Mocon-Ciriaco, May 29, 2020), lessons will be delivered to the students in the comfort and safety of their homes, through the following methods:

1. Printed or digital modules delivered to the homes of the students, or picked up by their parents at designated places, within coordinated schedules

2. Online learning resources such as the DepEd Commons

3. Television or radio-based instruction

For higher education institutions (HEIs), universities and colleges have the same modes of learning with DepEd. The leading state university in Northern Mindanao, USTP, is now in full gear in the preparation for blended distant learning. Members of the faculty are undergoing seminars and workshops on how to adapt to the new normal and still manage to provide students with quality education.

All of us should learn to adjust to this "new normal" and find ways for our children to continue their education. Times may be difficult for those gravely affected by this pandemic especially with their financial resources. With the help of our national and local government officials, let us look for opportunities that will not compromise the education of our children.


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