The Department of Education has drawn up a long to-do list for public schools all over Palawan to accomplish before the official school year begins in October. It outlines everything in support of what is described as “modular learning” or “distance learning”, which is essentially going to school by staying at home and evading the pandemic.
This school year, students will try to educate themselves by going through modules prepared by their teachers and guided by their parents. It is an altogether new approach that is translated into different sets of challenges depending on where a school is located, or if there is electricity and internet connection.
Teachers have been required to undergo webinars to capacitate them with tools they never had to learn in education courses. Parents are being asked to take on a more technical role of guiding their children to understand their modules and follow the instructions therein.
Students are faced with the challenge of being able to focus and accomplish tasks in an environment far different from what they had been used to. School infrastructures are relegated to being support facilities to make distance learning happen.
Several private schools have gone ahead with the procedure basically in a learning mode. At least one school in the city proper began by dumping a stack of modules for students to accomplish during opening week, only to realize they were so heavy they had to unburden their students the following week by scaling down the number of subjects.
For the provincial schools division, separate from the city schools division, one reality is that most schools had no access to the internet and that many are not even connected to the main power grid. Thus, distance learning will need to take on a more basic mode of physically distributing and collecting modules.
In the city where internet is problematic at best, digital tools such as Google Classrooms and other LMS platforms take a more central role in the educational equation. Modules however remain the norm, as the national government has dictated that there will be no face to face classes as long as there are no vaccines.
The pandemic has predetermined the meats and bounds of the new normal educational system, and for most of its stakeholders, it will be a trial and error approach.
“Kapit lang” is the idiolect that describes the optimism of the Department of Education to wade through the coming school year amidst the pandemic.