In the face of the current COVID-19 crisis that the country is facing right now, the Department of Education’s topmost priority is to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our learners while making sure there is continuance of basic education (DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtulis-Briones). Concomitant to this passion, in a recent live broadcast interview of the DepEd Region X Director Arturo B. Bayocot, he reasoned that several teaching modalities are being considered to effectively deliver the department’s objectives. Among them: multimodal teaching approach, distance learning instruction, and blended learning.
DepEd Malaybalay City Division’s Radio Based Instruction (RBI), an instruction that exemplifies the three modalities of instruction, is one of the four learning options used in the Alternative Learning System (ALS). First launched in September 2008 through the initiative of Education Program Supervisor for Alternative Learning System Nydia Faro with the assistance of then Education Program Supervisor (EPS) Edilberto L. Oplenaria, currently Schools Division Superintendent of the Division (SDS) of Lanao del Norte, the instruction had undergone several phases of improvement to cater growing demands including the increasing number and diversity of learners while ensuring the quality and availability of instruction is at par with global standards.
June 22, 2012 saw the fruition of yet another milestone in the program. “Eskwelahan sa Radyo”, an expanded version of the RBI program was launched in partnership with Bukidnon State University College of Community Extension and Information Technology. This 5-year partnership saw the realization of the crafting reproduction of 50 RBI Session Guides for the ALS Implementers, reproduction of workbooks for ALS Learners, recording and packaging of 40 New contextualized RBI episodes (canned lessons), for learners to utilized if they are unavailable during the time of broadcast.
Fueled by its powerful mantra, “Kab-ot Kahibalo, Libre alang Kanimo”, Radyo Eskwela, as it is currently and widely known in the city and its neighboring barangays, is a collaborative partnership between Division of Malaybalay and Bukidnon State University, College of Social Development and Technology. The program initiated SDS Edilberto L. Oplenaria will see more successes in the years to come.
“The challenge of expanding the program to cater formal education is a gargantuan task”, claimed Jasmin J. Adriatico, EPS-ALS, “but it’s a task we are willing to face head-on, and we are very optimistic we will have everything accomplished before class starts. This includes the production of interactive episodes, development of essential competencies that will fit the listening skills of the learners to the crafting of specific time schedules and learner modules, education will be made available in the safest and most accessible way”. Classes will start in the 1st week of September with the elementary and high school in alternating weekly schedules with Grades 1-3, Grades 4-6 given 30 and 50 mins respectively of airtime while high school students allotted with 40 mins per subject.
The RBI has impacted the lives of learners in so many different ways. It provided learning opportunities to learners who are unable to attend face to face sessions such as those who are working or living in remote areas, it was successful in expanding access and quality of distance education, and, most RBI learners who are A & E Test passers are employed locally and abroad, and many proceeded to tertiary education, which was highly unlikely if the were not given access to education to begin with. It has also the sole distinction of being longest-running Radio-Based Instruction Program in Mindanao.
In a recently conducted online survey that DepEd issued that generated more than 700,000 responses from students, teachers, and parents nationwide, the radio turned out to be the largest and most widely preferred learning option especially in places where effective learning instructions are hampered by slow internet connectivity, no cellphone signal and television is not readily available. Likewise, in the same survey, the department determined that the last week of August will be the scheduled opening of classes. However, as DepEd secretary Briones explained “the August 24, 2020 opening of classes do not necessarily mean learners should come to school and be physically present but rather, other learning options could be explored just so the department’s objective could be attained while making sure that the guidelines of the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) is adhered to especially in places where strict prohibition of physical contact and mass gatherings is still in strict implementation”.
From its more than 12 years of existence, RBI has been instrumental to the success of more than 3,000 learners including the likes of out-of-school youths and adults, Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs), single parents, rebel returnees, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), working students, farmers, Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and anyone whose lifestyle may not afford them the conventional day-to-day face-to-face instruction. The DepEd Malaybalay City Division’s Radio-Based Instruction, with the SDS Victoria V. Gazo, CESO V, manning its operation, may just be the answer everyone is looking for.
Rio G. Arbutante
EPS II- Social Mobilization and Networking
Victoria V. Gazo, CESO V
Schools Division Superintendent
Jasmin J. Adriatico
EPS Alternative Learning System
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