DepEd eyes e-graduation due to coronavirus pandemic

MANILA, Philippines – With the lockdown still in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Education (DepEd) is considering conducting graduation rites online. 

It's not feasible to do face-to-face [graduation rites], pero may mga natatanggap kami na nag-mumungkahi o nag-aapply na mga eskwelahan natin o mga divisions na kung puwede 'yung e-graduation (It's not feasible to do face-to-face graduation rites, but we've been receiving suggestions and applications from schools if we can hold e-graduations)," DepEd's Nepomuceno Malaluan said in an interview aired on DZMM on Monday, April 20.

Malaluan added,"If it will not involve coming together or congregating face to face, baka puwedeng payagan siguro 'yon (maybe we can allow it)."

Malaluan said that graduation rites were supposed to be held from April 13 to 17, but due to the extended lockdown and the prohibition of mass gatherings, these were not pushed through.

On April 13, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said that there would be no graduation rites in the country during the pandemic.

"I know [this is a cause for] disappointment para sa mga pamilya, pero under present condition hindi natin ito pinahihintulutan (among families, but under the present conditions, we cannot allow it)," Briones said. 

Briones, however, clarfied that they are not canceling the rites but only postponing them.

Briones herself tested positive for the virus on April 8, but announced on April 13 that she already tested negative.

Meanwhile, Commission on Higher Education Chairperson Prospero de Vera III said that the commission was encouraging higher education institutions to do alternative graduation ceremonies such as online ones, or moving them to a later date when the outbreak will have been addressed. 

As of Sunday, the Philippines registered 6,259 cases of coronavirus, with 409 deaths and 572 recoveries. –

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.