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More parents prefer education through printed or digital modules instead of online-based and other distance learning modalities, initial data from the enrollment survey conducted by the Department of Education (DepEd) showed.

According to DepEd, more than 8.8 million parents chose modular learning as their preferred distance learning modality for the upcoming school year, with only 3.3 million opting for online learning.

Almost four million chose a combination of different learning modalities while only 1.4 million chose education television and less than a million preferred radio-based instruction. Around half a million preferred other modalities.

Some 6.5 million households said they have ways to access the internet, while 6.3 million said they do not.

On how they connect to the internet, 5.7 million said they can use their own mobile data, while only 1.88 million have broadband internet. Some 682,000 said they would connect online through a computer shop, while another 690,00 said they would connect through other places outside their homes.

Over 2.8 million said they have no way to connect online.

On available devices at home that can be used for learning, more than 5.84 million said they have smartphones, while 3.81 million have basic mobile devices. Over 3.6 million have non-cable television, while more than 2.5 million have cable television. Some 1.8 million have radios.

Meanwhile, only 1.7 million have desktop computers or laptops and a little over 870,000 have tablets. More than two million have no devices that can be used for learning.

The data were gathered through the learner enrollment survey form that the parents had to fill up during the enrollment period that ended last July 15. Final data on the responses to the survey form are still being collated.

DepEd said the survey was designed to profile the household in terms of their readiness for distance education, which would be implemented in the upcoming school year.

It said enrollment figures would not be equal to the number of responses to the survey as parents were allowed to answer more than one option in some of the questions.

The survey results would also be likely lower than the final enrollment count, added the agency.

“These data and information were used by every region, school division and school in designing their respective learning continuity plan, particularly in making decision on what learning modalities will be implemented,” DepEd said. “These data were also used in determining the budget requirements for the learning continuity plan, particularly on the requirements for learning resources.”

As of Thursday morning, there are over 22.36 million students that have expressed their intent to enroll in public and private basic education institutions nationwide for school year 2020-2021. This represents 80.4 percent of the more than 27.7 million students from kindergarten to senior high school last year.

More than 20.95 million have so far enrolled in public schools, while only over 1.357 million signed up in private schools. Over 373,000 have transferred from private to public schools.

Meanwhile, the DepEd is currently conducting a series of psychosocial support and training for teachers, parents and other officials ahead of the school opening on Aug. 24.

DepEd recently launched a weekly online learning activity that aims to engage with parents in protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of their children. It said this is in line with the department’s goal of protecting and fulfilling the rights of a child anchored on the Convention on the Rights of Children, especially in times of community quarantine that is currently imposed in the country.

“With the emergence of the pandemic, the task to educate students has become more challenging because schools are temporarily halted and the DepEd saw that parents could be vital in fulfilling the learning continuity,” it said.

The agency partnered with child rights organization Save the Children to prepare modules for the parents. Telecommunications company Globe provides resource persons.

The online activity would be streamed every Wednesday until Aug. 19.

DepEd also conducted online training for teachers, school heads and other education personnel to provide psychosocial first aid to students.

“As we enter a new school year, our learners in the secondary level are about to make another series of adjustments that might become stressful for them,” said DepEd Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Services head Ronilda Co.

In addition to training them to support students, Co said the objective of the program is to provide teachers and personnel with knowledge on how to monitor themselves and look after their wellbeing.

Elementary teachers would undergo training on how to provide remote psychosocial support to young students through play and other similar activities.

DepEd said the activities put priority on the promotion and protection of mental health and general welfare in the time of pandemic.

“It shall also guide the participants to practice positive coping strategies like setting up routines and work-from-home practices, arts-based coping strategies and mindfulness meditation,” it added.

“DepEd personnel who are not reached by this session shall be provided with psychosocial support by the region or division through alternative means like phone calls or face-to-face subject to physical distancing measures and localized preventive measures,” said the agency.

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