Briones: Early Christmas break may affect students' learning
MANILA, Philippines – Education Secretary Leonor Briones on Monday, September 26, raised some concerns on the proposed early Christmas break for students to help ease traffic in the metro.
During the Senate hearing of the proposed 2017 DepEd budget of P566 billion, Poe took the chance to personally ask Briones to consider it.
“Maybe just moving Christmas party earlier or the exams earlier. Is it doable, not the entire Philippines, but just in Metro Manila and in Cebu?” Poe said, adding it is during this time when people are out on the streets running errands and attending to different activities.
While Briones told senators that the DepEd will “seriously study” the proposal, she said it might have an “impact” on the students’ capacity to learn.
Citing her experience, Briones, a teacher by profession, said heavy traffic continues to build up even during Christmas break of students. It is not just pupils, she maintained, who add to the situation.
“We have to examine the data from the point of view also of impact on learning of the children because again it’s not only the school children who add to the traffic [jam], it’s really Christmas itself. The buildup on December 24 – it hardly moves until New Year. It’s a holiday but you still have traffic,” Briones said.
“Does it happen during school season, or does it still happen even after classes have already closed? The other schools close on December 15, public schools on December 22 pero naa-accelerate pa rin (but it is still accelerated) because Christmas is what Christmas is,” Briones said.
Effect on learning?
With this, Poe proposed that the school days be extended until summer.
But for Briones, this might pose a risk to students’ health, considering not all public school classrooms are well-ventilated.
Briones said: “The capacity of children to absorb [will be affected]. I've visited classrooms that are extremely, extremely hot because of the size of the windows. It would affect their learning. Summer is also the time for summer diseases. We need to consider all of these in a school calendar which applies to the entire country. Of course, we're thinking primarily of traffic-prone areas like Metro Manila and other urban centers.”
She also said academic schedules might need to be adjusted if classes are extended until summer, as key events such as exams and graduation are already pre-set.
“Second is the possibility of a spillover to Holy Week. Everything is scheduled. If you move everything, if you move classes to summer, our classrooms are not built for summer. I have entered classrooms that are as hot as ovens during summertime,” she said.
Poe, for her part, said Briones’ concerns are valid. The senator said some people have approached her to ask for the DepEd's possible solutions to the worsening situation of traffic.
“Those points are very valid. I would like to stress of course it’s traffic, December 22, 23, 24, to get what they need to do. As a mother, I’d like to have more time with my children at home. This is not exactly a free pass for the students,” she said.
The senator asked the DepEd to submit its decision at the soonest possible time.
“What your decision will be, when you’re ready as soon as possible. Some consituents are curious to what solutions you can offer regarding this,” Poe said. – Rappler.com