Despite the changes in learning delivery this school year, the Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday assured that the teachers will remain as the “main facilitators” of learning.
This was the statement of DepEd Undersecretary for Planning, Human Resource and Organizational Development Jesus L.R. Mateo who said the agency made this clarification after issuing the guidelines on engaging, selecting and recruiting Learning Support Aides (LSAs).
LSAs, Mateo explained, shall report directly to the teacher whom he/she is assisting – “this means that the teacher is still the main responsible school personnel in-charge of the teaching-learning process.”
DepEd said that the implementation of the Basic Education-Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP) – as a response to the COVID-19 situation in the country – demands for a “holistic approach and a stronger partnership” among schools, households, and communities.
With learning essentially happening at home in lieu of face-to-face classes, DepEd underscored the need for participation and cooperation of parents, guardians and other significant adults especially in guiding the students under the distance/blended learning approach.
This school year, the lessons are delivered to students through multiple learning delivery modalities such as modular (printed and offline), online and television or radio-based learning. DepEd said that schools can also “blend” these modalities depending on the needs of the students.
Recognizing that teachers and their parents cannot do all these tasks alone, DepEd saw the need for additional human resources at the school level.
“The BE-LCP requires the complementary and broader roles of parents, guardians and other household partners, and members of the community to support the learning process of the students at home, hence, the need for additional manpower in schools,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones stated.
Given this, DepEd saw the need to engage the services of LSAs who are qualified individuals who will work together in collaboration with teachers and “contribute to the provision of learning opportunities that promote achievement and progression of learners.”
“As education must continue amidst pandemic, our teachers tackle the additional tasks, challenges, new expectations in the new normal, thus, the need for the learning support aides is crucial,” Briones said.
The services of LSAs at the school level, DepEd said, will provide support addressing the need of students who cannot manage independent learning, including those with disabilities and special needs; those who do not have a household member or any responsible adult available to provide instructional support and facilitate distance learning delivery modalities; and households with parents and guardians with full-time jobs who may not be able to monitor and guide the child’s learning at home.
Based on the recent guidelines issued by DepEd on LSAs, their main duties – in collaboration with teachers – include guiding learners and households on the chosen learning delivery modalities; rendering assistance to the teacher in the lesson preparation and delivery, and monitoring and tracking learners’ progress and achievement.
Mateo said that the engagement of LSAs is DepEd’s way of “ensuring provision of assistance to our teachers in managing learners and in coordination with teachers ensure that learning is taking in different learning modalities.”
The hiring of LSAs, Mateo added, is also “another employment opportunity” that can boost local community livelihood in this time of pandemic.