Press Release
June 25, 2020

Tolentino concerned about DepEd's ability to train teachers on distance learning

Will the Department of Education (DepEd) be ready for the opening of classes on August 24?

This was the question posed by administration Senator Francis "Tol" Tolentino as he questioned the department's ability to train all of its teachers on distance learning on time before the start of the school year.

During the hearing of the Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, Tolentino revealed that only 337,486 public school teachers have been trained by DepEd's Information, Communications Technology Service (ICTS) on Information and Communication Technology-based instruction.

"The figure is just about 40 percent of the total public school teaching population of more than 800,000. Malapit na po iyong August 24 school opening so paano po ito?" Tolentino asked the DepEd.

"Kung ready na po iyong 40 percent, papaano po iyong 60 percent?" he added.

Based on an international study, Tolentino said the preparation for the proper implementation of distance learning would take around six to nine months.

According to DepEd Undersecetary Diosdado San Antonio, the department aims to provide needed training for the remaining 60 percent of teachers.

"Aside from the training, there are also local initiatives from the division offices, regional offices where the teachers are also being given training activities," San Antonio said, adding that few schools have been training their teachers on distance learning.

Tolentino also raised concern over DepEd's ability to meet the needs of the growing number of enrollees and the content of modules that will be given to students.

The hearing tackled Tolentino's Senate Bill No. 1460, which seeks to develop a national education policy framework for online or broadcast learning delivery amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Tolentino's measure seeks to expand the basic education curriculum by increasing the functions of the Bureau of Learning Delivery to include distance education and online learning.

"The purpose of the bill is to integrate existing effort, which are relatively scattered today. So the functions of existing bureaus, such as the Bureau of Learning Delivery, BS Services and ICTS, will now be more or less integrated into just one bureau, to make it more sustainable," said Tolentino.

He said the bureau will address science-based concerns and adapt to technological changes, among others.

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