By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday confirmed that the opening of classes for basic education level this coming School Year (SY) 2020-2021 in public schools is on June 1.
DepEd Undersecretary and Spokesperson Annalyn Sevilla confirmed to the Manila Bulletin that the proposed start of classes in kinder, elementary, junior high school (JHS) and senior high school (SHS) is on Monday, June 1. However, she clarified that the school calendar for 2020-2021 has “not yet been released” which contains the approved schedule of school opening.
Based on Republic Act No. 7977 or “An Act to Lengthen the School Calendar from Two Hundred (200) days to not more than Two Hundred Twenty (220) Class Days,” the “school year shall start on the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August.”
Oplan Balik Eskwela
In line of its efforts to ensure the smooth opening of classes in June, the DepEd has also announced the launching of the national ‘Oplan Balik Eskwela’ (OBE) for this coming school year (SY) 2020-2021.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, in DepEd Memorandum No. 14 series of 2020, announced that the annual activity will run from May 25 to June 5, 2020. The OBE is DepEd’s annual initiative to “engage agencies, organizations, and all other stakeholders in preparation for the opening of the school year.”
“The OBE is part of the Department’s efforts to ensure that learners are already properly enrolled and able to attend school by the first day of classes,” Briones said in the memo. The OBE also aims to “address the problems, queries and other concerns commonly encountered by the public at the start of the school year.”
This year’s OBE will focus on four components including “Convergence,” “Command Conference,” “Communication” and “Client Assistance.”
For OBE’s “Convergence” component, Briones said that DepEd shall coordinate with other government agencies involved in school opening matters to assemble the annual year’s OBE Inter-Agency Task Force (OBE-IATF).
The agencies involved in the OBE-IATF include the Department of Energy (DOE); Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG); Department of Health (DOH); Department of National Defense (DND); Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH); Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); Department of Trade and Industry (DTI); Manila Electric Company (MERALCO); Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS); Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA); Office of the Civil Defense (OCD); Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA); and Philippine National Police (PNP).
A “Command Conference” is also scheduled on May 25, 2020 among DepEd officials, partner agencies from the public and private sector, media and other stakeholders.
To help ensure that sufficient information on school opening will be properly disseminated, Briones said that “DepEd shall provide the public with important information through press releases, media interviews, website postings, updates on the official Facebook and Twitter accounts, and other available media” through OBE’s “Communication” component.
Briones added that an OBE Public Assistance Command Center (PACC) shall also be set up at the DepEd Central, Regional, and Schools Division Offices. It will “serve as the information and complaints processing and routing mechanism.”
The OBE-PACC shall be set up on May 23, 2020 at Bulwagan ng Karunungan at DepEd Central Office in Pasig City. To help ensure the success of this project, Briones directed all involved DepEd offices/units “to actively participate and assign representative/s to the OBE-PACC.”
Briones said that the OBE implementation shall be under the general supervision of the Office of the Secretary with Undersecretary and Chief of Staff Nepomuceno Malaluan and Undersecretary Jesus Mateo as co-chairs with Public Affairs Service Director June Arvin Gadoy as vice-chair.
DepEd has yet to issue the official School Calendar for SY 2020-2021.