The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed the landscape of every aspect of society – including education. The shift towards “online” classes was faced with challenges that drove schools in different directions. Some opted to stop online classes to be fair with those who could not join due to limited internet connections. A big university decided to cut the semester short and pass their students. Petitions were submitted by students of other universities to follow suit. And while many are still debating on how to end the current school year, the big question is “what do we do about next school year?”
The Remote Learning Center arrangement is a response of School of Tomorrow Philippines to this challenge. Similarly, our counterparts in other parts of the world initiated Virtual Learning Centers and Online Classes to continue servicing students in their areas. In the first article we released (in view of the then “possible lockdown” in mid-March) an explanation of how and why we could continue our Learning Centers through remote servicing as our alternative delivery mode. We were blessed to hear how some of our schools were able to conduct PACE work in the midst of what eventually became the Extended Community Quarantine. While this delivery mode was not without problems – the first one being internet connectivity – a number of our schools reported success stories. A different article on the evaluation of the Remote Learning Center will be published.
To avoid any confusion, we differentiated between a Remote Learning Center Arrangement and Homeschooling. We remind our schools not to use the term “homeschool” or “#homeschool” in their posts because the two are entirely different. Why?
Homeschooling is an exclusive ministry of the PCST-Home Education Program (formerly Living Heritage Academy). PCST-HEP works under permit with the Department of Education as a homeschool provider. Parents enroll their children, parents get trained, and they supervise the learning of their children at home. The Learning Center setup is done entirely as a family. At least one parent is expected to work as the Supervisor of their “students.” They have Score Keys and PACE Tests and Keys. The parents do all the work of the Supervisor and Monitor from goal checking to testing to recording. They coordinate with assigned Academic Advisers from the PCST-HEP Office.
The Remote Learning Center is an alternative delivery mode of the school’s ministry in situations when students cannot come to school for an extended period of time – just like during Community Quarantine. The students are not being homeschooled. Students work at home while the Supervisors and Monitors also work from home. In other words, the Supervisors and Monitors continue in their work of facilitating learning remotely. This is a privilege that our schools have provided as they continue functioning as education providers. Coordination with parents is key but the work is still done by the Learning Center staff. Schools, based on their contract with SOTP, cannot offer homeschooling. They can offer a Remote Learning Center arrangement in the event that the quarantine continues till the beginning of the next school year.
We have never passed this way before. While we all understand the basic Learning Center Procedures, we understand that each school and each family have unique circumstances. This is the reason the Remote Learning Center arrangement provides some kind of freedom in dealing with each student without departing from the basics of our procedures. Individual education becomes more real in this situation. SOTP continues to evaluate the reports from key schools (serving as task-force) and will come up with clearer guidelines to help our school administrators in the implementation of the Remote Learning Center.
For the coming school year, we encourage schools to promote that, in the event lockdowns continue, we are still offering our remote delivery mode, -not homeschooling but Remote Learning Center Education.
For families who opt to do homeschooling, please refer them to PCST-HEP.