Private schools have been granted the option to continue implementing blended learning modality—a combination of face-to-face classes and distance learning—for the rest of School Year 2022-2023, the Department of Education (DepEd) said in an order issued on Monday.
Based on DepEd Order (DO) No. 44, series of 2022, signed by Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte, private schools may continue holding either five-day face-to-face classes, a blended learning modality, or full distance learning starting November 2.
Should private institutions opt for the blended learning method, they could push through with in-person classes for three days and two days of distance learning through modular, online, or television or radio-based instruction.
Thereafter, they could implement four days of in-person classes and one day of distance learning.
In granting this option, DepEd said they put into consideration the current situation of the private schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“DepEd is cognizant of the current situation of the private sector due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic—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,” the agency said in a statement.
DepEd added that they will now leave the discussion on which learning modality will be implemented by private education institutions to the schools, the parents or guardians, and the learners themselves.
It however pointed out the importance of in-person classes, saying that it is an “undisputable fact,” based on studies, that they remain the “best option for basic education.”
“[DepEd] 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,” it said.
“DepEd, however, hopes that parents/guardians of private school learners would not miss the abundance of scientific studies available on the advantages of in-person classes over online learning,” it added.
The current academic year provides for the implementation of combined in-person classes and distance learning starting August 22.
Prior to the release of DO 44, both public and private schools were required to transition to five-day face-to-face classes starting November 2.
Public schools, meanwhile, will proceed with the full implementation of in-person classes on November 2, according to the same Order.
“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 cancelled due to disaster and calamities, and those implementing Alternative Delivery Modes,” the DO reads.
DepEd said it will release a separate memorandum relative to the exemption of public schools that will be provided by their Regional Director Tolentino Aquino.
The agency also said it will expedite the review of its blended learning program to ensure that it will benefit the students and address learning issues.
DO 44 is an amendment to the DO 34 on the School Calendar and Activities for the School Year 2022-2023 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. DepEd said that all other provisions stated in DO 34 will remain effective unless otherwise amended by other issuances. —KBK/BM, GMA News