Photo taken from DepEd's Official Facebook Page

Photo taken from DepEd’s Official Facebook Page

The Department of Education (DepEd) is gearing up for an exciting start to the upcoming School Year (SY) 2023-2024, with August 29, 2023, set as the target opening date for public schools. DepEd’s Under Secretary and Spokesperson Michael Poa made this announcement during a recent interview at the Hilton Hotel in Pasay City. However, the date is not yet finalized, as the Department Order awaits signing, and it had to be adjusted from August 28 to avoid coinciding with National Heroes’ Day.

As the new school year approaches, DepEd is diligently working on comprehensive guidelines, encompassing various aspects such as “Brigada Eskwela” and the school calendar. One of the key focuses of these guidelines is to address concerns raised by teachers about their involvement in activities beyond the official school calendar, particularly end-of-school-year rites.

Photo taken from DepEd’s Official Facebook Page

The previous academic year, SY 2022-2023, marked a significant milestone as it saw over 28 million children returning to classrooms after two years of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, public schools adopted a mix of distance and blended learning alongside limited in-person classes. However, on November 2, 2023, DepEd achieved a major breakthrough by transitioning to 100 percent face-to-face classes in all public schools.

The pandemic necessitated the suspension of face-to-face classes in SY 2020-2021 and SY 2021-2022, prompting DepEd to implement alternative learning methods. These methods included a range of delivery modalities, such as printed/offline modular, online, radio, television-based instruction, and blended learning, which proved to be successful in providing flexible learning experiences.

Photo taken from DepEd’s Official Website

To tackle the ongoing challenges in basic education, DepEd is embracing a “two-track approach” under the leadership of Vice President Sara Duterte, who also serves as the Education Secretary. The first track involves implementing traditional solutions, such as constructing resilient classrooms and recruiting more teachers to address shortages.

However, acknowledging that certain issues may take time to resolve, the second track focuses on harnessing technology to enhance education. Based on lessons learned during the pandemic, DepEd is exploring the institutionalization of blended learning, which offers students various learning delivery options, particularly during emergencies or natural disasters when in-person classes are not feasible or safe.

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Furthermore, DepEd’s current initiatives are geared towards fostering 21st-century skills among students. The aim is to prepare them not only for the local job market but also for the globalized world. This focus on developing essential skills reflects the department’s commitment to producing well-rounded learners who can thrive in diverse settings and adapt to an ever-changing job landscape.

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With DepEd’s comprehensive guidelines and innovative two-track approach, the Philippine education system looks forward to a hopeful and forward-looking direction. Striving to balance tradition and technological advancements, DepEd is dedicated to creating an enabling learning environment that empowers students to excel in their academic journey and beyond.