3-day class week tried in Caloocan
Two public high schools in Caloocan City have begun implementing a three-day school week schedule—an option supposedly deferred by the Department of Education (DepEd)—in order to cope with overcrowding.
Baesa High School Principal Ma. Nimfa David said the scheme would enable the campus to accommodate nearly 2,800 students with only 23 classrooms. At least four classes had to be conducted on the rooftop of one of the school buildings, she said.
At Bagumbong High School, 3,600 students come to school for three days (four for some grades) under a 9- or 11-hour daily schedule.
“I had no other option but to implement the alternate program. This is in exigency of the service,” said David, who has a pending request for another building to replace one demolished two years ago for being structurally unsafe. “As long as we don’t have the classrooms, where will I put the students? What else can I do?”
A brainchild of Division Superintendents Rita Riddle and Wilfredo Cabral of Caloocan City and Valenzuela City, respectively, the three-day school week scheme was supposed to be implemented this year in 54 out of 88 public schools in Caloocan and in four public schools in Valenzuela.
But shortly before school opened last June 2, the DepEd central office shelved its implementation “for further study.”
Still, Caloocan City District Supervisor Carleen Sedilla said the three-day school week had so far eased overcrowding and—unlike in overpopulated campuses stuck with the five-day schedule—enabled the schools to follow the DepEd-prescribed time per subject. The ideal for high school is eight hours for eight subjects, she said.
“The most important concern is the quality of teaching and learning. With this scheme, we give the students the maximum allotted time (for the subjects),” Sedilla said.
In Baesa HS, Grades 7 and 10 students come to school on Monday, Wednesday and Friday; while Grades 8 and 9 students come to school on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In Bagumbong HS, only the Grade 9 students come to school for three days a week or on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., while the rest come to school for four days a week from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. No classes for Grade 7 students on Friday, Grade 8 on Monday and Grade 10 on Wednesday.
Bagumbong HS Principal Ferdinand De Leon said the reduced teaching time in the past had affected students’ learning, especially on analytical subjects like Science and Math.
“The reason why they can’t develop the students’ skills is because the time was too short to do exercises,” he said. “Now they can perform experiments, do computations, since Math and Science now get one and a half hour per day.”
“(It was thought) that if you reduce the five-day schedule, the students will be shortchanged. The irony is, it’s under the five-day schedule where the students are shortchanged because the instructional time is reduced,” he noted.
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