August 11, 2020 – Showcasing the readiness of the schools in different settings, the Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday formally launched the Handang Isip, Handa Bukas National Readiness Kick-off to give a better understanding of the procedures on the opening of School Year 2020-2021.

The program featured 10 schools from various regions with diverse circumstances, which conducted distance learning and exhibited how each school maximized its resources with the help of their respective local government units and partner organizations.

“If you see an island, if you see a medium-sized urban place or if you see a municipality [that is demonstrating how a learning modality will go about in their schools], then you can see that this blended learning is being applied in many different types of situation,” Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said during the Handang Isip, Handa Bukas press conference.

Secretary Briones reiterated that no change will happen on the school calendar for this year as classes in basic education for School Year 2020-2021 will open as scheduled on August 24.

“Ang pagbubukas ng eskuwelahan ay August 24. Ito ay [gagamit] ng blended learning. Walang face-to-face. At sa mga lugar na may risk assessment galing sa IATF, susundin natin ‘yong kanilang mga patakaran…As of now, 22.9 [million] na ang nagpapa-enroll na nagsasabi na handa silang pumasok by August 24 so bigyan natin ito ng suporta ang programang ito,” Briones noted.

Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio stressed that unlike the traditional school openings, the first week of SY 2020-2021 (August 24-28) will focus on the orientation of psychosocial first aid, and different distance learning delivery modalities, including the roles of school heads, teachers, and parents/learning support aides.

With PhP9 billion funding downloaded to schools division offices, DepEd noted that self-learning modules (SLMs), which will be primarily used in a blended learning set-up, are continuously being reproduced in the field offices. From updated reports submitted to the Central Office, several offices shared that their printing of SLMs are ahead of their target schedules.

“Ang mga modules po ay ongoing ang production according to the Regional Directors. Most of them ay nasa 60% to 80% complete for the first quarter and by August 24 ay maidi-distribute na ito sa mga schools,” Undersecretary Revsee Escobedo explained.

In addition, the Department will upload the initial learning materials in the DepEd Commons for teachers and school principals so that they would be able to access these SLMs before the opening of classes.

Meanwhile, Secretary Briones said the Department will consider for those areas that were put under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), including NCR and Region IV-A, in terms of their timeline of preparations.

As Department braces for the crucial two weeks before the opening, Briones thanked the President, lawmakers, local government officials, development partners for their support, and commended the efforts of the teachers and school personnel for their efforts in ensuring that education will continue amidst the pandemic.

“May mga nagsabing hindi kaya ng DepEd ‘yan, pero ilang daang taon nang kinayanan ng DepEd at ng ating mga teacher [learning delivery during crisis],” she said.