8-hour online classes? ‘Another stress from school’ won’t help families amid pandemic, says senator
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) needs to study “very carefully” extending the hours of online classes and consider how it could add another form of stress to students and their families in the middle of the pandemic, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian, chair of the Senate committee, made the suggestion on Tuesday after DepEd Undersecretary Jesus Mateo said online classes may be extended to about seven to eight hours since the resumption of classes was moved from the original schedule of August 24 to October 5.
The senator stressed the need to balance the quality of learning to the mental well-being of the children and their families.
“This is an option that we can do, we can also do remedial classes during the weekend. But we need to balance very carefully because the pandemic created a lot of mental stress to our parents and to our students and another stress from school will not help the well-being of our families,” Gatchalian said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel.
“Admittedly, we haven’t done this in the past, we haven’t done this in our entire education history…Our families are being put in a lot of stress from livelihood, from employment, from bringing food to their families another stress from school will not help,” he added.
The senator also raised concerns about the number of hours students would be glued to their computer or smartphone screens for the online classes should it be extended.
“Smart phones are very small, staring at the phone for seven to eight hours would not be a good idea. It will create a lot of strain to their eyes and also to their minds.,” he said.
“That’s why we need to study this very carefully, we cannot just mandate the 8-hour classes on a cellphone. We have to make sure that the well-being of our children and our families will not be affected with these changes,” he added.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones earlier explained that the resumption of classes was rescheduled to October 5 in consideration of the modified enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite and Laguna still in effect until Tuesday, August 18.
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