Duterte on blended learning amid COVID-19 pandemic: I don’t know if we are ready

President Rodrigo Duterte does not believe the country is ready to shift to blended learning or  combined methods to teach students amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Duterte made the comment as the Department of Education (DepEd) prepares for the opening of classes on August 24 which will be marked by online schooling and take home modules since face-to-face classes will not be allowed pending a vaccine against COVID-19.

The DepEd is making such preparations even if the President already said that there should be classes as long as there is no vaccine available.

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“We have to wait for the vaccine. Walang vaccine, walang eskwela. Si Secretary Briones, she has this alternative learning, a very good program, like teleconferencing, but I don’t know if we are ready for that,” Duterte said during his taped meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases aired Friday.

He is referring to Education Secretary Leonor Briones.

“Do we have enough? If she can afford to buy it, she can proceed with this noble idea, that the children continue with their education,” Duterte added.

Parents, teachers, and students have raised concerns over the implementation of online learning and home schooling, considering that the cost of a stable internet connection does not come cheap and that not all parents finished college and equipped enough to teach their children at home.

Records show there are 800,000 DepEd employees, including the teachers, and 27 million students in basic and secondary education.