Educational innovations in the time of Covid

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THE Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the system of learning as we know it, leaving the education sector with no option but to find novel ways to educate the youth.

Education officials and all concerned sectors had to innovate, explore and discover the best methods to ensure students can continue their education even from a distance.

The pandemic also prompted education officials to revisit existing policies to find out if these can be enhanced or improved on to give support to the Department of Education’s (DepEds) battle cry – learning has to continue despite the global health crisis.

One of these policies is the school-based management (SBM) – a framework laid down by Republic Act (RA) 9155, or the “Governance of Basic Education Act of 2001,” that allows schools to develop and implement practices or tools to better improve the learning and teaching system.

As the nation shifted to distance learning and as students familiarize themselves with various modules, regional officials of the DepEd went to work to assess the teaching innovations and tools of schools, check their effectiveness and determine if students learn from these schemes.

These tasks are performed by SBM coordinators. Coordinators track, monitor and examine data gathered from the field to determine what technical assistance schools needed to improve their SBM level. They also validate at what stage these innovations or learning practices are – level 1 or beginning, level 2, maturing and level 3, advanced.

Once the assessment is completed, technical assistance is given, which could be in areas like access efficiency, quality and governance, leadership and governance, curriculum and learning, accountability and continuous improvement in resource management.

Schools are also provided assistance to be able to conduct their own self-assessment of their SBM systems using the contextualized SBM validation tool.

Regional SBM validators, usually members of the regional field technical assistance teams, also validate schools’ performance improvement with the use of effective interventions and innovations to improve learning outcomes during the pandemic. These assessment and validation procedures aim to identify problems and areas that need to be enhanced.

The school improvement plan (SIP) will then serve as reference in the conceptualization of innovations.

In addition to the SIP, schools also have their basic education learning continuity plan, in line with the DepEd’s thrust to continue the instruction of the youth.

Indeed, schools and school officials have an integral role in the education of the youth.

As provided under RA 9155, “The school shall be the heart of the formal education system. It is where children learn. Schools shall have a single aim of providing the best possible basic education for all learners.”

The creation of a SIP and formulation of learning programs of school officials are mandated by the same law, which under Section 7 provides, “Consistent with the national educational policies, plans and standards, the school heads shall have authority, accountability and responsibility for the following:

1. Setting the mission, vision, goals and objectives of the school;

2. Creating an environment within the school that is conducive to teaching and learning;

3. Implementing the school curriculum and being accountable for higher learning outcomes;

4. Developing the school education program and school improvement plan;

5. Offering educational programs, projects and services which provide equitable opportunities for all learners in the community; and

6. Introducing new and innovative modes of instruction to achieve higher learning outcomes.”

Nowhere in time has there been a greater need for innovation to improve teaching and learning than now, when the traditional and familiar system of education is beyond reach because of the pandemic.

Providing education continuity means that new modes of learning should be discovered, tried and assessed to determine their effectiveness.

All possibilities should be explored to improve learning for all.

The author is education program supervisor regional SBM coordinator FTAD-DepEd Region 2.

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