Philippines DepEd: School reopening will depend on status of public health

School closures have led the Philippines DepEd to release a statement indicating they are still waiting for health officials’ communication before implementing plans to reopen schools. The move comes amidst the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

The Philippines Department of Education (DepEd) has said it will wait on the status of public health to be released by the Ministry of Health before deciding to reopen schools. The schools were closed down due to the spread of coronavirus in the country.

Philippines DepEd Statement

Education Secretary Leonor Briones said they were still looking at contingency plans they will implement if the lockdown persists. She indicated that among the solutions they are looking at was the ICT sector where she said there was potential that it would aid in the continuation of education. She, however, was quick to admit the difficulties of transitioning to online learning.

One of the major issues Philippines DepEd was facing is connectivity where she indicated that only a total of 48 percent of public schools had connectivity. This accounted for 22,645, serving approximately 16,750,902 learners out of 22,746,855.

ICT implementation challenges

Philippines DepEd Undersecretary and spokesman Nepomuceno Malaluan, also added that migration to digital platforms had many hindrances. Among them was access to technology itself by both students and teachers. The lack of access, therefore, would be a major factor of consideration when coming up with a contingency plan for the department.

DepEd acknowledged that the lockdown has been very challenging for them. They are, however, optimistic that they will be able to reopen schools sooner once the health scare is dealt with. The dates for reopening for school year 2020/2021 were not relayed and thus, students will have to wait long before an official communication is given.

The Philippines has been one of the most hit by the coronavirus in Asia. To date, they have recorded more than 2,300 cases with 96 people succumbing to the virus. This has led the government to lock down most of the country as a measure to control the spread of the virus.