Gatchalian nixes nationwide academic break: ‘Poor learners’ will be left behind | Inquirer News
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Gatchalian nixes nationwide academic break: ‘Poor learners’ will be left behind

/ 02:45 PM April 12, 2021
Sherwin Gatchalian on education during pandemic

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, presides over the continuation of a technical working group meeting at the Senate. Senate PRIB file photo / Albert Calvelo

MANILA, Philippines – Despite the students’ call for a nationwide academic break, Senator Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian on Monday rejected such idea, saying it will leave the “poor learners” behind.

Gatchalian, chair of the Senate committee on basic education, said that the academic freeze cannot be implemented as areas have different COVID-19 situations.

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“I don’t agree with the call to implement a nationwide academic break. Iba-iba naman ang quarantine qualification at may mga lugar na walang lockdown. Mahirap naman pong mag-academic freeze sa isang lugar na walang kaso ng COVID-19. Kaya hindi pwede itong academic freeze para sa pangkalahatan dahil iba-iba ang sitwasyon,” he said in a statement.

(Quarantine qualifications vary and there are areas that are not on lockdown. It is difficult to impose academic freeze in an area without a COVID-19 case. So this academic freeze can’t be implemented for the general public because the situation varies.)

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He also said that poor and vulnerable learners, who were already struggling since the start of the pandemic, will be left behind due to additional disruptions that a nationwide academic break will bring.

Gatchalian warned of the “exacerbated effects” linked to prolonged school closures such as learning loss, widening inequalities, and increased exposure to violence.

“Sa basic education, isang taon nang hindi nagpupunta sa mga eskwelahan ang mga bata at kapag sila ay patuloy na bibigyan ng break at hindi sila mag-aaral, talagang makakalimutan na nila ang kanilang pinag-aralan,” he said.

(In basic education, if the students will not go to school for a year and continue to be given breaks, they can really forget what they have studied.)

He further said that most of the areas in the country were placed under general community quarantine and modified general community quarantine which meant that distance or flexible learning can continue.

Meanwhile, some universities in the “NCR Plus” bubble have implemented academic ease as the COVID-19 cases in the country increase. – Liezelle Soriano Roy, INQUIRER.net trainee

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