Distance Learning for the Philippines, In or Out?

Due to the COVID-19 threat in the Philippines, schools were shut down but experts believe that learning should still continue using different means such as distance learning. With the technology and different media available, teachers are finding innovative ways to extend their classrooms beyond the traditional. 

Indeed, distance learning provides a wide range of opportunities to students to learn and gain higher education but distance learning still has its cons, especially in a country like the Philippines.

One of the benefits of distance learning is that students have the option when to study, where to study and what to study. With that kind of flexibility, it is the best option for education today.

The school year 2020-2021 is about to open on August 24th but this doesn’t necessarily mean that students have to go to their respective schools and attend face-to-face classes. Aside from online learning system, the Department of Education is eager to use mass media to make sure that no child is left behind. According to DepEd, students who do not have gadgets and internet access can still learn through radio and television. There are also printed self-learning modules to be given out to students who don’t own TVs and radios.

Pros of Distance Learning in the Philippine Setting

No need to commute. This means that you can save time and money. Also, no more stressing too much about traffic.

Convenience and flexibility. Students can learn at their own pace and do their home works and activities anytime. They can have the chance to make their own schedule and work around it.

Learning at your own pace. This is perfect whether the child is a slow learner or a quick learner. Slow learners can take their time studying until they get the lesson while quick learners can have more chance to study other courses whenever they want.

More quality time with the family. Learning can also be the new ‘bonding time’ for parents and children. Parents can make each lesson a fun experience to their children. This way, parent-children relationship is developed better.

Safety. Distance learning doesn’t require students to attend traditional school so they don’t need to interact with their classmates and other people, which might pose threat to their health. Though they are just in the comforts of their own homes, they can still learn their usual lessons where they are the safest during these times.

Cons of Distance Learning in the Philippine Setting

Less Motivational. Since students are not required to go to school in person, they are isolated and won’t get the kind of interaction they are used to in the normal setting. Additionally, students won’t be able to get the motivation that they need from their teachers. In the traditional method of learning, students are given the chance to excel in the kind of environment that provides them a challenge to work in a peer group but that opportunity doesn’t exist in distance learning.

No immediate feedback. In the traditional setting, the performance of students can be assessed immediately through follow-up questions and testing while in distance learning, students need to wait for the teacher’s feedback, which could take a while.

Technical/internet difficulties. This is probably on top of the list when it comes to cons of distance learning using the internet. Online learning requires a good internet connection, a computer, laptop, tablet or cellphone and unfortunately, not all students have access to those. Aside from that, certain online classes may also require good technical skills and typing skills.

DepEd has already introduced DepEd Commons where students can have fun tests while learning but still, only those who have gadgets and internet connection can access DepEd Commons.

COVID-19 surely changed the way we live and whether we like it or not, we have to come up with innovative ways to keep students learning even inside their homes – and this is where distance learning comes to the picture. It is going to be a part of the ‘new norm’.

So what are your thoughts? Is the Philippines ready for distance learning?


May 27, 2020. According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in an interview, enrollment will continue on June 1. DepEd has already scheduled the entire month of June as the enrollment period for public schools around the country. Class opening (physical and virtual) is expected on August 24.

“We need to continue our preparation for the opening of the new school year but just like what I’ve said before, everything will still depend on the COVID-19 situation in the Philipines. If the cases are still high, we just have to postpone the school opening. But as of now, we are preparing on the possibility of both face-to-face and blended learning,” Spokesperson Roque said.

During President Rodrigo Duterte’s public address, he stressed that he doesn’t want the classes to resume unless there’s a vaccine for COVID-19. However, Spokesperson Harry Roque clarified that this means that face-to-face classes are still prohibited if the area is still under community quarantine. However, Roque said that education will still continue with the use of different platforms such as television, radio, internet and modules.

The government is also eyeing at creating ‘make-shift classrooms’ especially in locations where there are no o limited internet access.

4 thoughts on “Distance Learning for the Philippines, In or Out?

  1. If I may, a few questions for the author. And for point of reference, I am in USA not PH. What are the differences, urban vs rural, and even regional, in readiness for Distance Learning? How might the internet/connectivity issues be solved, especially if students are kept at home? Will classes resume this year? God bless you and thank you for an informative article.

    1. Unfortunately, the Philippines is not yet ready for this kind of setup. There’s still a lot of factors to consider i.e. internet access and even electricity to some isolated locations. The government should really do something about the TelCos in order to solve the crappy internet connection and I hope they’ll push their plan to allow the new telecom company to help solve the issue. We still have a long way to go before we’d be able to implement distance learning successfully. As of today, classes will resume on August 24th while enrollment starts June 1. The Department of Education is preparing for a ‘blended learning’ where students can learn through different mediums: online, TV/radio and modules. It is an ideal learning setup but I’m sure not every student will be able to follow especially those who don’t have parents and guardians to guide and teach them regularly.

      I hope I was able to answer your questions. Thanks! 😀

      1. Maraming Salamat! I appreciate your answers and detailed reply. Prayers for all children, families, teachers and staff for the new school year.

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