LEARNING management system (LMS). This is what schools will need to offer online courses but how to build it is not basic knowledge to educators.
Not being able to have their own LMS or some other reason that prevented them from going online is why eight small private basic education institutions in Central Visayas decided not to reopen in the coming school year.
The eight schools became casualties to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. They served notice to the Department of Education (DepEd) 7 that they will not open this school year 2020-2021.
Education officials in the region said the schools' decision was probably based on their inability to comply with reopening requirements imposed by the DepEd central office, the Department of Health and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Private and public academic institutions have shifted to online learning to safeguard the health of their teachers and learners amid the global health crisis caused by Covid-19, the SunStar Cebu report said.
Of the eight schools that have decided to close, six are kindergartens while two are elementary schools.
Private schools may start classes earlier than the mandated opening for public schools provided there are no face-to-face classes. The government moved the opening of classes in public schools from Aug. 24 to Oct. 5 to give educators time to prepare for the digital shift.
One requirement for those adopting online distance learning is for the school to have an LMS that will host the syllabus and provide the venue for holding classes online. The LMS can be obtained through a subscription-based program like Canvas or Moodle or internally developed by the school.
A SunStar Cebu report described the LMS as the software used for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, automation and delivery of educational courses, and training programs.
The eight schools may just be the beginning. There could be other players in the education industry considering closure because moving online takes time, knowledge and resources. The LMS is not as easy as ABC or moving your syllabus for in-campus teaching to an online platform.
The daunting task of creating the LMS is one area where the DepEd should be able to help the private sector. The government cannot pay the salaries of private school teachers who have been jobless for months. Public school teachers are better off as they get paid even if there are no classes.
But the DepEd should guide schools in their journey to digital, especially in the area of a new learning system. Time is running out before online classes begin and the DepEd has to act to prevent more schools from shutting down.