Editorial: Education not purely academic

THE recently filed Senate Bill (SB) 966 or the proposed “No Homework Policy” for both public and private schools authored by Senator Grace Poe and House Bill (HB) Nos. 3611 and 3883 of Deputy Speaker Evelina Escudero and Quezon City Representative Alfred Vargas, respectively, continue to evoke varied reactions from teachers’ groups, parents, and students.

While the bills of Poe and Vargas are similar in nature as they seek to ban or stop teachers from giving assignments or homework to Kinder to Grade 12 students during weekends, Escudero’s bill wants to eliminate homework as a class requirement and limit school activities inside the campus.

SB 966, however, allows teachers to give “minimal” homework during weekends, which would only require less than four hours for students to accomplish.

Poe underscored the state’s mandate to safeguard school children and teachers’ welfare, citing a study from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Program for International Student Assessment that additional time spent on homework has a negative impact on students’ overall performance.

Vargas, for his part, cited a 2018 study in South Africa, which suggested that homework diminishes quality family time and interest of students to learn. He claimed that students’ physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well-being will further be promoted through his bill.

Sorsogon Representative Escudero, meanwhile, said that homework can deprive students and parents’ quality time needed for rest, relaxation and interaction after school hours and even on weekends.

Her HB 3611 would also keep students from carrying heavy bags on and off campus as they could only just deposit their textbooks in school.

Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones also backed the “No Homework Policy”, saying that homework cannot prove the effectiveness of the country’s educational system and that there are no guarantees that the kids themselves do the assignments at home.

Thus, she urged more discussions be made within the classrooms to develop the students’ analytical thinking and that assignments or projects be done inside the school.

Antagonists of the bills claimed that homework should not be seen as a burden but as an avenue to instill discipline and responsibility among learners.

We laud these initiatives of Senator Poe and Representatives Escudero and Vargas. It’s about time that we think of the welfare of the students since education is not purely academic. Life experiences, too, are great teachers.

Several hours spent in school each day for five days a week already take a toll in the students’ physical and mental health. Thus, time for homework could be maximized for sports and recreation, music, leisure, and family or social bonding. Students, sans assignments at home, could have more time for sleep, which is vital for growing children and teens, thereby making them more energized and more productive for the daily rigors in school.

Some claim that with the absence of homework, students might only be more addicted to their gadgets. Well, parents can do a better job in regulating their gadget use. Discipline, after all, starts at home.


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