DepEd disavows community learning centers run by OVP

Christian Deiparine –

November 24, 2020 | 3:14 p.m.

MANILA, Philippines – The education department on Tuesday distanced itself from Vice President Leni Robredo’s Community Learning Centers project, which aims to help students without internet access cope with classroom learning from a distance.

Joining the Palace’s regular briefing, Secretary Leonor Briones said Robredo’s office made the proposal to the agency in August, but admitted that without the president’s approval they could not allow the return of the face to face learning.

President Rodrigo Duterte long avoided the possibility of holding physical classes until the arrival of a coronavirus vaccine, which led to the current configuration of e-learning that groups had since turned to. opposites.

“Our policy is that we cannot allow it because we are following the president’s order. We have no authority to announce or reverse what the president said,” she said in Filipino.

Presidency spokesman Harry Roque had asked Briones if it was true that DepEd had partnered with the OVP on the project, which he announced on Monday through Robredo.

The vice president joined the launch of her office’s introductory online teaching course via teleconference on Monday, but did not say the learning center project was underway with DepEd.

“Ako naman excited not only the community learning center, but also the partnership with the teachers, with DepEd kasi, I am sure the partnership pag nagtuloy-tuloy po ang na ito mas magiging mahusay at maayos yung ating mga estudyante” Robredo said in reference to the webinar with AkadAsia.

(I’m excited not only about the community learning center, but also about our partnership with teachers and with DepEd, because I’m sure if this continues it will improve the students.)

Face to face learning?

Robredo, in an interview on DZRJ on October 23, said that community learning centers were set up in areas where many children did not have access to gadgets or did not have study areas in their homes. “Most of the children (in the hubs) … their parents work or don’t have the ability to teach,” she said, adding that the hubs were also meant to help “difficult learners”.

“Iyong pangatlo, always in the community learning centers with all the gadgets that are found in the gadgets; [technical lag] iyong mga magular para magturo, either nagtatrabaho sila or wala ring capacity na magturo iyong magulang. Tapos pang-apat, for difficult learners, ”she said.

In October, Robredo spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said the learning centers are meant to provide learners with an alternative learning space as well as access to learning tools and gadgets as well as photocopiers and printers. “There are volunteer tutors in each learning center who can keep an eye on the students’ needs for their studies,” he also said in Filipino.

He added that the Ministry of Education was kept informed of every step towards launching the Learning Hub. “And to maintain the safety of our learners and tutors, we ensure that the safety protocols are strictly implemented in the learning centers,” he said.

Victor Javena, chief education supervisor at the Pasig City DepEd Schools Division office, said in a ONE News report on the launch that the program identified learners whose parents were not as capable of ” help their children with the course modules.

Briones: OVP in coordination with local authorities

Briones said the OVP has directly coordinated with local governments for the project which was launched in late October and which now has sites in Pasig, Caloocan and Taytay in Rizal, Negros Occidental, Lucena City and Tabaco City as well as ‘in Albay.

The first community learning center was opened in Pasig, but Briones said it had not been approved by the city’s division superintendent. She said another center, in Caloocan, also did not have DepEd approval.

“OVP was in contact with the barangay of Taytay, Rizal but DepEd was not involved because, officially, there is no such agreement or approval. The president’s policy remains that there would be no sessions face to face, ”Briones said in Filipino.

Tensions recently peaked between the palace and the OVP after Duterte falsely claimed Robredo was behind calls to know where he was amid the recent typhoons that hit the country as the government was criticized for its response to disasters. In his anger, Duterte lashed out at Robredo with sexist remarks and calling him “mahina” or weak.

DepEd study resumption of learning on site

In the same briefing, the education chief told reporters the agency is examining the possibility of resuming physical classes in selected areas as foreign drugmakers report significant progress in the development of possible COVID vaccines. -19.

“Certainly not this year and until the president makes the announcement, but we are preparing a report on the current experience,” she said. “It’s also clear that if face-to-face learning resumes, it will be in very limited areas that are absolutely safe.”

Briones added that the conditions will have to come and be approved by the health department as well as the multi-agency coronavirus task force.

More than 25 million Filipino students have so far registered for the current school year that started in October, or at least 2 million out of the 27.7 million learners in 2019.

DepEd has said it will accept late registrations until November 21.

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