MANILA — The House of Representatives is urging the Department of Education (DepEd) to give an automatic passing mark to students during the previous school year (SY).
The lower chamber of Congress adopted House Resolution No. 2267, which asked the education department to exercise "scholastic leniency" to elementary and high school students by giving them an automatic passing mark for SY 2020-2021.
The lawmakers, based on the resolution, said this was a way of protecting students' health and well-being from the abrupt changes in education delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The health crisis forced Philippine schools to close and shift to distance or remote learning.
"The serious threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the troubling consequences of the attendant quarantine measures, and the destruction wrought by these severe weather disturbances during the School Year 2020-2021 have resulted in challenges that have affected or compromised the health and well-being of both teachers and students," the resolution said.
Remote learning has also become a new source of stress for teachers and students who lack access to proper devices and unstable internet connection, the lawmakers said.
But education psychologist Lizamarie Olegario said remote education should not focus on passing marks but on developing students' competencies.
"It's not good to simply say 'automatic pass.' Definitely, everybody should pass, but there's a need to improve the delivery of remote learning to make students learn," said Olegario, who teaches at the University of the Philippines College of Education.
Olegario is also a member of the Movement for Safe, Equitable, Quality and Relevant Education, which earlier this year conducted a survey that found that a majority of Filipino students believe they "learned less" during the first year under remote learning.
Alliance of Concerned Teachers Secretary General Raymond Basilio, meanwhile, said the resolution does not solve the "learning crisis" in the country.
Lawmakers should have instead passed measures that addressed the problems of distance learning, such as the lack of gadgets and inadequate internet connection, Basilio said.
ABS-CBN has reached out to DepEd officials for a reaction but they have yet to respond as of writing.
Acknowledging the limitations of remote learning, the DepEd is planning to gradually reopen schools. Its first step is to hold a pilot test of limited in-person classes in select schools to see if it is safe to hold classroom sessions.
— With a report from Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News
FROM THE ARCHIVES