Palace rejects academic break due to typhoons, saying education ‘not overly affected’
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Tuesday thumbed down calls for an academic break amid the spate of typhoons that visited the country, saying these “did not have much effect” on education since the primary mode of instruction is modular learning or online.
“Unang una po, sa ating mga public schools, yung mga eskwelahan na nasa ilalim ng DepEd [Department of Education], tayo po ay nasa blended learning. At ang primary mode of instruction natin po ay modular,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online briefing.
(First of all, our public schools or those under DepEd are under blended learning. The primary mode of instruction is modular.)
“So, hindi po masyado nakaapekto dahil wala pong face-to-face classes sa lahat ng ating mga eskwelahan,” he added.
(So it did not have much effect since we have no face-to-face classes in all our schools.)
After the country was battered by typhoon after another amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many student groups sought for a nationwide academic break to assess the education situation and review the workload of both faculty and students.
Following the typhoons that caused flooding in several provinces, many suffered loss of internet connection, electricity, water and other basic resources.
‘Only calendar adjustments’
Roque said instead of an academic break for state universities and colleges (SUCs), they will only be allowed to extend their academic calendars for one to two weeks.
He said the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) en banc has already convened and decided that the academic calendar of universities can be extended following the series of typhoons that hit the country and triggered class suspensions.
“Pagdating po sa ating universities ay nagkaroon na po ng en banc meeting ang CHED at ang decision po ng CHED ay hindi po papayagan itong academic break na hinihingi ng ilan,” Roque said in a press briefing.
(The CHED en banc has already conducted a meeting and its decision is to not allow the academic break being requested by some groups.)
The CHEd has also rejected the academic break for college students and left the decision to suspend classes to colleges and universities.
Some universities already suspended classes for at least one week following the onslaught of the recent typhoons.
“Ang decision po ng en banc ng CHED ay para mag-extend ‘yung mga pamantasan, kolehiyo na hindi nakapagklase dahil sa bagyo ng 1 or 2 weeks para matapos ang kanilang semester,” he added.
(The decision of the en banc of CHED is for universities and colleges that failed to conduct classes due to the typhoons to extend the class period for 1 to 2 weeks so they can finish the semester.)
Roque disclosed the decision of CHED following the statement of Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago saying DepEd and CHED should heed the call of students for an academic break as thousands of them were affected by the recent typhoons.
Elago explained that an academic break is needed because of the damage brought by the typhoons to internet infrastructure and other equipment needed for distance learning.
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