Briones: School building construction needs design reevaluation for disaster risk reduction

March 3, 2021 – To ensure disaster risk reduction in schools, Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones acknowledged the need for reevaluation of building designs before constructing new classrooms to address its shortage in the country.

During the virtual visit of Secretary Briones in DepEd Region 1, she mentioned the importance of looking at details in the building designs. “Perhaps the building designs need to be improved, so that during calamities such as earthquakes and typhoons, the school buildings are much more secure, rather than these past calamities where many of our classrooms were immediately toppled and destroyed,” says Briones, noting that just building these structures should always consider the ability to withstand strong winds, earthquakes and super typhoons.

Secretary Briones said that while there are new school buildings every year, it is not enough to measure efforts on addressing classroom shortages in the country. Proper reevaluation of building design is needed to lessen the yearly destruction of school buildings due to calamities

In addition, Briones said that the reevaluation of school building designs should also consider the need to comply with the new normal guidelines set by the Department of Health (DOH).

According to Briones, “We should also consider the DOH guidelines for number of students in a classroom, taking note of size of classroom and distancing for students. We are now having an ongoing conversation on these building requirements.”

Briones also reminds the public that the construction of school buildings is not DepEd’s sole responsibility but is also in collaboration with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

Speeding up classroom construction

In this connection, Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua suggested the transferring of the implementation of the School Building Program (SBP) from DPWH to DepEd to accelerate the construction of classrooms around the country.  

“DepEd has a bigger stake and more concern over these projects, making it the better agency to work out the immediate implementation and completion of school buildings,” Usec. Pascua said.

He further pointed out that DepEd successfully implemented local- and foreign-assisted school building projects in the past through the Principal-led Scheme of School Building Construction.

“The scheme provided a greater sense of project ownership by the school and the community, which strengthened project monitoring, resulting in high integrity and quality completed project,” Pascua said, adding the scheme was cited for “Best Practice Award by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in 2008.

The classroom requirements for 2020 is 242,603 classrooms. This figure accounts for 110,954 classroom shortages, 85,524 replacements of classrooms scheduled for condemnation/demolition, and 46,125 classrooms for the Last Mile Schools.

To address the classroom shortage in the next three years, DepEd proposed to lawmakers to allocate Php 333 billion for 2021, Php 374 billion for 2022, and Php 374 billion for 2023.

Standards and specifications set

Furthermore, DepEd recently issued the Re-Establishment of Minimum Performance Standards and Specifications (MPSS) using the Alternative Construction Materials for School Buildings.

In Department Order No. 006 s. 2021, the MPSS aims to drive the construction of well-designed buildings that considers anthropometrics, ergonomics, thermal comfort, illumination, ventilation, acoustics, and color; and that are compliant with the law.

The Department wants to ensure that school buildings for the succeeding years could withstand wind velocity up to 340 kilometers per hour and could resist 0.4 up to 8.0 magnitude of an earthquake.

The designers, meanwhile, must consider the Sanitary and Plumbing Standards, including the provisions of toilets and sanitary facilities under the Plumbing Code and the Sanitary Code of the Philippines.

The Education Facilities Division (EFD) of the Department, together with the Regional and Division Office, shall be in charge of the monitoring of the construction and the evaluation of the building using the alternative construction materials approved by the Central Office.

END

DepEd local TV and radio studios advised to localize DepEd TV episodes to avoid duplication of content

March 28, 2021 – To expand the accessibility of various TV- and radio-based instructions, the Department of Education (DepEd) urged field officials to develop localized DepEd TV and Radio content to avoid duplication of materials.

“Let us not reinvent the wheel, let us not also duplicate efforts already made. Kapag nakagawa na ang DepEd TV ng episode, huwag nang gumawa ang regional offices. Sayang ang panahon, sayang ang effort, at sayang ang pera,” Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua said.

Pascua emphasized the importance of tackling new topics and distributing video instructions for DepEd TV in all of the regions.

Presently, DepEd TV is concentrating on creating video content for the 5,689 Most Essential Learning Competencies (MELCs).

The MELCs are based on the K to 12 curricula and had been streamlined to 5,689 from the original 14,171. The 60% reduction is part of the Department’s Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Outside of the MELCs, pwedeng mag-concentrate ang ibang division at eskwelahan. Ito ay magkaiba sa gagawin ng DepEd TV. Actually, magiging complimentary at support ito [sa distance learning],” he said.

Usec. Pascua also called upon all regions, divisions, and schools with TV and radios to undertake Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) video and audio productions for K-3 lessons as this matter cannot be undertaken by DepEd TV at the moment.

“The Central Office-led DepEd TV uses mainly English and Filipino languages in its episodes. All MTB-MLE videos must be produced at the local levels at this time. They can be made with new productions or the DepEd TV episodes may be dubbed using the local language,” Pascua said.

“Explore ‘yung hindi mako-cover ng DepEd TV at DepEd Radio para sa ganoon, ‘yung mga output ninyo, video man ‘yan or radio, mapapakinabangan pa rin at puwede nating i-upload sa DepEd Commons at DepEd TV YouTube Channel upang magamit ng mas maraming learners,” he added.

During the recent launch of Instructional Media Centers (IMCs) by the Schools Division Office of Pasig City, Usec. Pascua emphasized that with the collective initiatives of DepEd Commons, DepEd TV, and DepEd Radio “magiging kahanga-hanga ang mga divisions, mga regions, pati na rin ang mga eskuwelahan,” he said.

DepEd TV, the main television-based instruction initiative of the Department, has produced 1,981 episodes from the first quarter to the third quarter of School Year 2020-2021.

During the first day of the virtual In-Service Training or INSET on March 15, DepEd-ICT Service director Abram Abanil said the Department is still ramping up the production of episodes to cover all of the learning competencies in each school subject in the basic education curriculum.

“One of the major programs that we have been developing is the DepEd TV, where we have been producing around 130 episodes per week,” Abanil said.

“[Thus], we can air on television these episodes so the youth can still learn even if they don’t have face-to-face classes,” he said.

The DepEd TV team has also turned over an approved broadcaster training program and design that is available upon request by school division offices (SDOs) who intend to have their localized DepEd TV programs. The team has already trained 200 teacher-broadcasters and produced 640 fully edited, mastered, and formatted broadcast-ready TV lessons, as well as turned over of 25 audio-video lessons by broadcast veterans and complete operations manual for broadcast TV.

These efforts were recently recognized by the Mobiles of Education (mEducation) Alliance as the Department was cited as one of the Policymaker EdTech Champions and DepEd TV as one of the honorable mentions under the Crisis and Conflict Response category.

DepEd TV and DepEd Radio are projects spearheaded by the Information and Communications Technology Service-Education Technology Unit (ICTS-EdTech) headed by Director Abram Y.C. Abanil, under the Administration Strand led by Undersecretary Pascua and Assistant Secretary Salvador Malana III. It is part of the Public Schools of the Future (PSOF) Framework of the Administration Strand under the leadership of Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones and from direct instruction from Usec. Pascua as a continuation and follow through of SIPAG (Strand Interface for Programs and Guidelines.)

END

On the start of School Year 2021-2022 

April 30, 2021 – The Department of Education (DepEd) would like to emphasize that the President has the final decision on the opening of the school year, in accordance with Republic Act 11480.

We will be proposing various options for the President’s consideration. The August 23 start date proposal is only one of the options since DepEd is mandated to open the school year not later than the last day of August under the same law unless the President intervenes.  

Nonetheless, we are still conducting policy consultation and review with concerned stakeholders to determine the most appropriate course of action on this matter. We shall issue the official guidelines for School Year 2021-2022 calendar soon. 

END