Castro: Better classrooms amid scorching summer heat

Castro: Better classrooms, school infra amid scorching summer heat

/ 10:39 PM April 02, 2024


House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES FACEBOOK

MANILA, Philippines — With a lot of teachers and students complaining about the intense summer heat experienced over the first two days of April, ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro called on the government to construct better classrooms with adequate ventilation to safeguard those in schools.

In a statement on Tuesday, Castro said the rising heat index should be an eye-opener to the government—that construction of classrooms with better ventilation should be prioritized.


“The current heat index experienced by our students and teachers should serve as a wake-up call to prioritize the construction of additional classrooms and the improvement of ventilation systems in our schools,” Castro said.


READ: In-person class suspensions, changes from April 2 due to hot weather 

READ: Hot weather prompts some schools to suspend classes on April 1


“It is unjust for our learners and educators to suffer in unbearable conditions that directly affect their health, well-being, and academic performance,” she noted.

Classes in different areas have been suspended due to the intense heat, like in the case of Quezon City, Muntinlupa City, Calumpit and Malolos in Bulacan, Kabankalan City in Negros Oriental, and General Santos City in South Cotabato.

Earlier, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said they expect the heat index to peak at 44 degrees Celsius in Roxas City, Capiz.

According to Pagasa, ten more areas in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao were also predicted to experience “danger category” heat indices within Tuesday.


READ: Searing 44°C heat index forecast for Capiz’s Roxas City on April 2

READ: Teachers’ group to DepEd: Implement measures vs extreme heat

Cannot delay

“We cannot delay the provision of adequate infrastructure any longer. It is the responsibility of the government, particularly the DepEd, to prioritize the well-being and learning conditions of our students and teachers,” Castro said.

“Investing in the construction of more classrooms and improving ventilation systems is an investment in the future of our nation,” she added.

According to the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), a survey they conducted among teachers in Metro Manila showed that 77 percent of instructors said they cannot bear the heat experienced in schools, whereas only 22.8 percent said that the heat they feel is moderate.

Also, ACT said that 87 percent of the respondents said that the heat affects student focus, which is “impeding effective teaching and learning”.

“Nearly half or 46 percent said that classrooms have only 1-2 electric fans, highlighting inadequate ventilation measures to combat rising temperatures. Alarmingly, 87 percent of students reported existing medical conditions such as allergies and asthma while 26 percent of teachers reported hypertension, noting significant health risks posed by the intolerable heat,” ACT said in a separate statement.

“Survey respondents suggested a number of ways on how to urgently alleviate the intolerable conditions in classrooms, such as allowing teachers and students to wear light and comfortable attires suitable for hot weather conditions, providing free water to stay hydrated throughout the shift, and implementing asynchronous classes or other area-specific and flexible learning modalities to minimize exposure to extreme heat,” it added.

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ACT is not the only group asking DepEd to address the ventilation problem in schools. On Monday, Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) asked the department to implement measures against extreme heat affecting teachers and students — after reports that students and teachers got sick due to extreme heat last year.

TAGS: classrooms, heat index, Students, Teachers

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