/ 31 October 2020

A SAFE learning delivery and learning continuity during the Covid19 pandemic is possible, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said at a high-level international meeting for educators.

In her virtual speech in the 2020 Global Education Meeting Extraordinary Session on Education Post Covid19, Briones shared the Department of Education’s two-pronged approach to ensure that education will not be defunded during the adjustment and recovery period.

“In the Philippines, our approach has been two-pronged: Emphasize that learning delivery in a safe manner is possible; and show that safe learning continuity in the time of Covid19 constitutes necessary and sound investment for education transformation for the future,” she said.

Briones noted that the challenge for the education sector is to defend learning continuity because there are sections of society that believe “education can wait”.

While DepED faced challenging circumstances and adjusted its operations because of the pandemic, Briones said the education department received support from various government and private partners at the national and local level, allowing it to safely open the school year 2020-2021.

“The resumption of learning for our children at this time is no small feat. It is certainly not easy to reconfigure learning delivery from one based in physical classrooms, to one with a degree of distance learning under various modalities at a scale never done before,” she said.

The DepEd chief also stressed that learning continuity establishes significant investment for the future.

Briones shared three innovations that the department is pursuing namely: Technologies for remote learning; Reframing the curriculum; and ‘Smartifying’ learning spaces and resources.

Reframing the curriculum is necessary to prioritize essential/cross-cutting knowledge, skills, and mindsets, including 21st century skills, durable skills, and capacities that can help confront the future, she explained.

Briones said that it is timely to expand learning environments and resources with the emergence of virtual and informal spaces.

“Yes, there will be equity and quality losses, but there are also evident equity and quality gains. The result will not be one-sided, and our challenge is to swing it to the side of the gains,” she said.