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COVID-19 Pandemic: A Phenomenal Analysis of its effect to the Philippine Educational System

Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic affects the way of learning across the Philippines – that is, from the conventional classroom environment known as face-to - face learning to distance learning. In those areas that have internet access, they tend to have online distance learning as their learning tools, and in those areas that do not have internet connectivity, they choose to have modular distance learning.

Teachers are driven by various learning modalities as part of the training of modular distance learning. In reality, they are also provided with the Learning Delivery Modalities for Teachers module of the National Academy of Teachers of the Philippines. The primary aim of the teachers' modules is to train them for the execution of their duties and obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Technical assistance is given to teachers who demonstrate confusion in the performance of their positions in times of crisis.

The Department of Education ( DepEd) shall have an electronic copy of the modules for each grade level. Electronic copies are downloaded from the Schools Division Office for the printing of the module. The printing costs are also provided, but there is no assurance that they will be adequate for the end of the school year. This urges the school heads to revise their school's MOOE budget and allocate the sum for printing the modules. Based on the questions of the students, the remaining school budget for the calendar year is not adequate to fund all the remaining school expenditure. The school officials are therefore acting immediately on this via the Adopt-a-School Program (AsP) of the DepEd. In this phase of the pandemic, sharing is assumed to be the secret to solving the school dilemma. In response to the needs of the school, the Local Government Unit (LGU) is providing funding to the schools through the Special Education Fund (SEF) allocated for the calendar year. In the same way, there are times where local authorities use their personal resources to support schools.

Based on the DepEd survey of parents' preferred learning methods, most parents choose modular distance learning modules, particularly printed modules, due to their fear of a stable internet connection. With these results, DepEd allocates an additional budget for printing modules. The preparation of the modules follows the role of the teacher-writers to prepare the modules which are based on the Most Important Learning Competencies (MELCs) prepared by the DepEd Bureau of Curriculum Development.

Printed modules are issued to schools prior to the beginning of classes. However, owing to unavoidable circumstances, there are occasions where teachers are advised to print an electronic copy of the modules due to late submission to the printing press. There are also situations where the modules are not available, which is why teachers are advised to prepare the LAS as an alternative to the modules. Teachers, therefore, need to attend to these activities in order to ensure that all is ready before the opening of school.

The introduction of COVID-19 health and safety guidelines is part of the planning for the introduction of modular distance learning. All schools must obey the recommendations of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) in charge of COVID-19. Schools are therefore advised to purchase COVID-19 answer products. They also assign school staff to monitor the body temperature of those going to school for a number of purposes. Each person needs to complete a log book or contact tracking form to have immediate school records if anyone gets infected with COVID-19. They are also expected to complete a health declaration form to assess the health history of individuals for the past two weeks.

There are parents who are very worried about the introduction of modular distance learning in terms of quality education. They worry that their children will not be able to learn the skills needed for their grade level. Furthermore, they really have no idea how this modular distance learning system can work. As part of the parents' appeal, simulation exercises are carried out in both classrooms. Parents are also given instructions on the implementation of modular distance learning. Hotlines are opened for the purpose of answering questions from parents. Parents are also given advice on their important role as learning facilitators in the study of their children. The procedures for evaluating learning results are also discussed with those who challenged the validity of the learners' answers when it comes to the evaluation tools offered by the school.

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