/ 24 July 2022

THE FEDERATION of Associations of Private Schools and Administrators urged the government to allow private schools to implement hybrid mode programs.

A Department of Education order (DepEd Order 34 s. 2022) prohibits any form of purely distance learning and blended learning in any school beyond October 31, with the department adopting in its place a policy pushing for the full implementation of the five-day in-person classes.

“The President (Ferdinand Marcos Jr.) agreed that a plan should be made with a caveat that face-to-face classes shall be the priority and blended modality shall be considered only in specific schools and areas with special circumstances,” Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte-Carpio said in an earlier statement.

FAPSA president Eleazardo Kasilag though said that since Duterte-Carpio did not mention which schools and areas are being considered for the setup of face-to-face classes, she could well exempt private schools in the National Capital Region or Metro Manila.

“Private schools have the bandwidth and all students have either cellphone, netbook or tablets for distance online learning. In short, the FAPSA schools appeal to shift to flexible learning modes as the need arises,” Kasilag said.

Kasilag, however, clarified FAPSA is not against face-to-face classes.

“We are most concerned with quality but not at health’s expense of our stakeholders. We are not out of the virus reach yet and also not veering away from the great advantage of digital education now readily available in most private schools,” he said.

“To go full face-to-face classes until 2023 may not be feasible to some parents, some of which have been asking for refund and expressed willingness to stay from the school year if forced to in-person all the way,” he added.

“And since the DepEd Order 34 also did not outline any details for the areas with special circumstances, all the more, private schools become qualified as they are not much affected because, we feel, it is pointed to some schools not ours in FAPSA,” Kasilag said.

FAPSA also appealed for government support for private educational institution in form of subsidy for pre-school and graders like ESC and GASTPE which are already enjoyed by junior and senior high school students in some private schools.

“Pre-school is the foundation of learning, let us prioritize their needs,” Kasilag said.

President Marcos Jr. earlier said the national government would be forced to continue carrying out blended learning if key concerns in the education sector, such as supply of teachers and stable internet, are not addressed.