Mendoza: No Homework Policy

The Scribe’s Corner

OVER the past few days, various TV and radio stations and leading newspapers in the country published numerous reports pertaining to now controversial “No Homework Policy” which further gained criticisms from rights defender group because the proposed law penned by 5th District of Quezon City Representative and actor Alfred Vargas seeks to ban elementary and high school teachers from giving assignments over the weekend with violators to face a fine of P50,000 and jail time of up to 2 years.

However, in a recent report, Vargas said that he made an "honest mistake" when his proposal to ban homework during weekends accidentally included a provision on penalties for teachers. Vargas insisted that the penalty provision was for another bill that his staff prepared at the same time as the homework ban proposal.

In his proposed measure, he continued by saying that the time that students would spend on homework could be dedicated instead to honing entrepreneurship skills with their family and friends, or joining sports competitions and artistic workshops.

House Deputy Speaker Evelina Escudero filed a separate bill that seeks a no-homework policy for kinder to grade 12 students and learners in this level will also be barred from taking their textbooks out of all public and private schools.

In the Senate, Sen. Grace Poe filed Senate bill 966 or the proposed "No Homework Law" mandating all primary and secondary schools in the country to not allow teachers to give any homework or assignments to students from Kinder to Grade 12 on weekends.

Under the proposed measure of Senator Poe intended for public and private schools, teachers may only assign homework to students on weekends provided that it will be minimal and will not require more than four hours to be completed. Poe cited a study from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Program for International Student Assessment which says that the additional time spent on homework has a negligible impact on the performance of students.

DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said that she supports proposed laws prohibiting homework for students saying that students lose time for rest and bonding with family and friends due to homework, which is sometimes completed by tutors or carers.

She said that she wanted all formal study, assignments, projects, whatever, to be done inside the school because when the students get home, they will have free time to be with their parents, friends.

It can be recalled that DepEd issued DepEd Memorandum No. 392 , series of 2010 that prohibits homework or assignments during weekends “for pupils to enjoy their childhood and spend quality time with their parents without being burdened by the thought of doing lots of homework.”

On the contrary Teacher's Dignity Coalition (TDC) headed by Benjo Basas rejected the proposed ban on homework, saying it is not intended to make life difficult for the students because he said that the teachers are trained educators and said they know the value of homework which is all about discipline, responsibility and continuity of learning.

Another teachers’ group the Federation of Associations of Private Schools and Administrators (FAPSA) headed by Eleazardo Kasilag mentioned that having no homework on weekend will further destroy the good image of tablet education which produced cyber crime, cyber addiction, depression, which they said are happening when the children are on vacation or when they are doing nothing.

This Corner believes that with all these arguments at hand, the lawmakers and the DepEd are now in a good position to come out with the best deal that will benefit the learners and the teachers and will not jeopardize the deterioration of quality of education and diminishing the study skills of the learners.


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