MANILA – Various groups rejected Thursday a proposal by an official from the Department of Education (DepEd) to extend the current school year as remote learning continued because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a TV news report, Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio said the department was thinking of extending the school year, which ends on June 11, and shortening the 2-month summer break into 2 weeks.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) criticized San Antonio’s plan, saying that what the DepEd needs to do is reduce the workload of students and teachers.
“The difficulties of many students in keeping up with the lessons while both learners and teachers are burned out is a clear proof that the current curriculum and the over-all learning design being implemented are not sufficiently attuned to their real situation under the health and economic crisis,” ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said in a statement.
The Kabataan Party-list, meanwhile, said extending the school year would not address the challenges of distance learning.
“Health breaks are much-needed and critical for learning amid the pandemic not only for students but also for teachers and administrators,” Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago said.
The youth lawmaker added that the summer break can be used to assess the implementation of blended or distance learning, and carefully plan and prepare for the safe reopening of schools.
San Antonio’s statement also drew outrage from social media users. On Twitter, “DepEd” topped the list of trending topics in the Philippines.
In a text message to ABS-CBN News, San Antonio clarified that the department’s executive committee (Execom) – composed of Education Secretary Leonor Briones, the undersecretaries, and assistant secretaries – has not made a final decision on the extension of the school year.
“What I shared was the proposal we at the curriculum and instruction strand would make to the Execom,” San Antonio said.
– With a report from Zandro Ochona, ABS-CBN News
education, Department of Education, Diosdado San Antonio, school calendar, extending school calendar, summer break, shorter summer break, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Kabataan Party-list