Sara orders removal of wall decorations in classrooms

Janvic Mateo, Diana Lhyd Suelto - The Philippine Star
Sara orders removal of wall decorations in classrooms
Vice President Sara Duterte June 16, 2023
STAR / Jesse Bustos

MANILA, Philippines — Posters, tarpaulins, unnecessary artwork and other decorations inside classrooms should be removed to enable students to focus on their lessons, Vice President and Department of Education Secretary Sara Duterte reminded public school teachers and administrators ahead of the start of classes this month.

Duterte earlier issued DepEd Order No. 21, Series of 2023 or the implementing guidelines for Brigada Eskwela.

“Schools shall ensure that school grounds, classrooms and all its walls and other school facilities are clean and free from unnecessary artwork, decorations, tarpaulin and posters at all times. Oversized signages with commercial advertisements, words of sponsorships and/or endorsements or announcements of any kind or nature shall be taken down,” read the policy.

“Classroom walls shall remain bare and devoid of posters, decorations or other posted materials. Classrooms should not be used to stockpile materials and should be clear of other unused items or items for disposal,” it added.

During a Brigada Eskwela initiative in Bansalan, Davao del Sur on Aug. 17, Duterte was seen removing decorations in one classroom, including a printed version of her official portrait.

She also removed materials posted on a bulletin board.

The new directive resulted in confusion among some teachers, who noted the long-standing practice of putting up posters and educational materials on classroom walls, with some arguing that decorations make learning more conducive, especially for younger students.

Duterte maintained that bare walls “will allow students to focus on the lessons from the teachers.”

With the pilot implementation of the MATATAG Curriculum this school year, Duterte hopes to correct the “painful decline in the ability of young learners to read and write.”

“The MATATAG Curriculum is a revised and improved version of the K-10 program. It hopes to correct the previous program’s flaws that affected our learners’ writing and reading skills – contributing to learning losses,” Duterte said in her speech during the opening of the Philippine Book Festival yesterday.

The MATATAG Program aims to rekindle learners’ interest in the written word and for them to value the power of writing and reading as something that could help them navigate life successfully, Duterte explained.

Duterte also said the department intends “to offer our learners accurate, responsive and culturally relevant reading materials.”

Meanwhile, around 32,000 police officers will secure the opening of public schools across the country on Aug. 29, the Philippine National Police (PNP) announced yesterday.

All security measures are in place to ensure the safety and security of students, their parents, teachers and other school employees, PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said during a Laging Handa public briefing.

Police commanders are also coordinating with school administrators for the smooth opening of classes, including the establishment of police assistance desks so that police officers can immediately respond to emergencies.

Fajardo said policemen will also conduct mobile and foot patrol to deter criminals from carrying out their nefarious activities in the vicinity of school campuses.

“Even outside the school premises, we will make sure that the teachers and the students will be safe on their way to school and when they are going home,” she said.

In areas devastated by recent typhoons and heavy rains brought by the southwest monsoon, police officers are helping in the cleaning and repair of school facilities. — Emmanuel Tupas

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