Schools urged: Go back to blended learning as El Niño looms
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday urged schools to shift to blended learning anew as the El Niño phenomenon looms and will make the hot weather “unbearable for learners.”
Gatchalian, head of the Senate committee on basic education, made the call after the state weather bureau raised an El Niño alert on Tuesday amid worsening heat in several areas across the country.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said that El Niño may develop between June and August, and it may persist until the first quarter of next year.
“Ang pinakaimportanteng responsibilidad ng principals natin ay iyong kapakanan o kalagayan ng ating mga estudyante. Kung nakikita nila na sobrang init o may bagyo o anumang hindi maganda sa kanilang lugar, pwedeng mag-cancel ng klase ang ating principals. Pwede rin sila ngayong mag-blended learning,” Gatchalian said in a statement.
(The most important responsibility of school principals is to ensure the welfare of our students. If they see that the heat is extreme or there’s a storm coming or any other unfavorable event in their area, principals can cancel classes. They can also shift to blended learning now.)
The Department of Education (DepEd) earlier said that school authorities may decide to shift to remote learning due to the extreme heat in the country to ensure the health of their students and personnel.
Gatchalian also cited a DepEd order in 2022, which “recognizes the need to suspend or cancel classes and work in schools during emergencies brought about by natural disasters and calamities, or the occurrences of brownouts in places where schools are located.”
“In the event of canceled or suspended classes, modular distance learning, performance tasks, projects, or make-up classes shall be implemented to ensure that learning competencies and objectives are still met,” the directive reads.
Several schools in the country have since shifted to blended learning amid soaring temperatures this dry season.
Gatchalian also previously proposed to revert to the old academic calendar, where the school break students would fall from April to May.
He made the recommendation following an incident in Laguna where several students collapsed after experiencing heat exhaustion during unannounced fire and earthquake drills.
The legislator further argued that moving the school break would allow for “more seamless poll preparations” as he noted that learners will no longer be in school when May elections are held.