‘Thousands’ of schools affected by recent typhoons, says DepEd
MANILA, Philippines — Thousands of schools have been affected by the recent strong typhoons that hit parts of the country, the Department of Education (DepEd) said Wednesday amid calls for an academic break.
“I don’t have the exact number but there are thousands. There are thousands in Bicol and Region II, and certain areas in Region IV-A, Rizal particularly and Quezon, and Region III, and Marikina of course in NCR, we have schools affected there. I don’t have the exact numbers but there are many in those areas,” Diosdado San Antonio, Education Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction, said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel when asked about the number of schools affected by the typhoons.
Amid calls for an academic break, San Antonio said class suspensions have been allowed instead as these are permitted during calamities under DepEd rules.
“The call for an academic break during this period of calamities is actually happening now in the Department of Education. There are class suspensions in areas where learning could not really happen because of calamities,” he said.
However, San Antonio brushed aside the wide-scale academic break being asked by some groups amid the impacts of the typhoons and the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to the education sector.
He said DepEd wants students to continue learning since world studies have found that a halt in the provision of basic education services will pose adverse impacts on students.
“The moment we stop the provision of basic education services for learners, it will have a massive impact on their lives economically and their capacity to learn is affected. Research from very respectable institutions would always mention this so we cannot afford to withdraw the opportunity of our youngsters to be able to learn,” he said.
“We will make this available and we will continue to make it flexible and we will make adjustments, mindful of the idea that we will enable the child to really learn the most foundational skill, the most essential ones that they will find useful later in their lives,” he added.
Earlier, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that public schools were not that much affected by the typhoons since blended learning and not a face-to-face mode of teaching is being implemented by DepEd.
Meanwhile, for state universities and colleges, Roque said the Commission on Higher Education has decided not to allow an academic break and will instead let schools affected by the typhoons to extend their academic calendar by one to two weeks so they can finish the semester.
Before this, Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago also earlier said that DepEd and CHED should heed the call of students for an academic break as thousands of them were affected by the recent typhoons.
Elago said students need an academic break because of the damage brought by the typhoons to internet infrastructure and other equipment needed for distance learning.
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