Education webinar: Bouncing back for the country’s learners

    No business and industry sector, including the educational system has been spared by the impact of COVID19.  With nearly 27 million learners expected to go back to school in August as announced by the Department of Education, BounceBackPH, through BounceBack Academy organized its first education-centric webinar entitled, “Education in the New Normal.” This webinar brought together resource persons from across the educational system to share ideas and inputs that can help the country’s learners bounce back as schools face the new normal.

    Jason dela Rosa, founder of BounceBackPH, stresses the need to adapt, adopt, and be adept. “To adapt to the new environment and situation, adopt different strategies to move forward, and be adept at the necessary skills through repurposing of knowledge and continuous learning.”

    As schools are scheduled to open in August 24, Alain Pascua, undersecretary for sdministration at the Department of Education says, “DepEd will take into consideration the minimum standards to be set by IATF and the Department of Health for the resumption of classes. This includes all quarantine protocols.” He explained that there are also non-negotiable requirements that need to be defined before administrators, teachers, and students return to school. These include potable water, disinfection equipment, hand-washing facilities, and temperature devices. “We also need to prepare PPEs, health and hygiene kits,” adds Pascua. “We need to build clinics and quarantine facilities. Only about 20% of schools have clinics.” 

    Using technology and innovation

    Aside from updating facilities, alternative learning modalities also need to be factored into the new normal. Aileen Apollo-de Jesus, senior program manager, Google for Education, Asia Pacific,  notes: “Google Classroom and Google Meets are free platforms that we provide for schools to use and have hosted webinars for teachers to help manage distance learning.”

    At present, the DepEd is exploring various platforms, processes and partnerships to face the new normal. These include partnerships with local broadcast stations, door-to-door delivery of worksheets, and take-home learning activity sheets. “We also need to enhance our own learning platforms like DepEd Commons and ICT4ALS,” adds Pascua. ICT4ALS is a learning portal with activity sheets, resources and tutorials for ALS (Alternative Learning System) teachers and learners. He said that not all learners have access to the internet or mobile phones. DepEd also enjoins all teachers and learners to use its online content repository, the DepEd Commons, and mentions that regular official DepEd webinars on eLearning are also being conducted by the EdTech Unit.

    Yuki Naotori, global director of Quipper Ltd also offered their platform’s ready-to-use curriculum-based content for Grades 4 to 12. “These have been used by thousands of students since 2014,” says Naotori. 

    Edric Mendoza of Homeschool Global Learning Inc. and Rossana Llenado, president of AHEAD Learning System also described the role of home school and mentoring as part of the new normal in the education sector. Gelix Mercader, co-founder of The Practical Learning Company, pointed out that educators should not only look at the platform but at the learner and the learning objectives.  Nato Agbayani, co-founder of BounceBackPH and The Practical Learning Company, adds that it will take a lot of talent and resources for the education sector to face the new normal. “We need to remain focused on the delivery of quality education to the millions of learners, young and old, around the country. It is not a one-size fits-all solution but we remain positive.” 

    Be part of the BounceBackPH community

    BounceBackPH started as a movement on Facebook to help entrepreneurs, front-liners, and disadvantaged communities to bounce back, better than ever after the pandemic. The group began in March 2020, and now has more than 70,000 members, with industry verticals communities, regional and city-based groups, as well as global communities in UAE, Singapore and Malaysia. To join the community, look for BounceBackPH Official on Facebook.

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