‘No’ to nationwide academic break

Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - April 13, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian disagreed with the proposal to have a nationwide academic break, saying the decision should be left to basic education and higher education institutions.

Gatchalian reiterated that poor and vulnerable learners, who are already struggling since the pandemic began, would be left behind because of additional disruptions that a nationwide academic break will bring.

He also warned of exacerbated effects linked to prolonged school closures such as learning loss, widening inequalities and increased exposure to violence, among others.

“I don’t agree with the call to implement a nationwide academic break. Quarantine qualifications vary and there are areas without lockdown. It is difficult to freeze academically in an area without a COVID-19 case. So, it can’t be an academic freeze for the general public because the situation is different,” Gatchalian said in Filipino.

“On basic education, children have not gone to school in a year, and if they continue to be on break and don’t study, they can really forget what they studied,” he added.

In Isabela, which is under general community quarantine (GCQ), the Department of Education (DepEd) suspended the distribution and retrieval of self-learning modules and other face-to-face activities after five DepEd personnel recently died due to COVID-19.

Teachers in the division are expected to remotely continue their follow-ups and monitoring of learners.

Meanwhile, some colleges and universities in NCR Plus have suspended classes or implemented academic ease measures due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. These include the University of Santo Tomas, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Cavite State University and De La Salle University.

Gatchalian stressed that while the NCR Plus has now been placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until the end of the month, he pointed out that most of the country is under GCQ and modified GCQ – where distance or flexible learning may still continue.

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