Cebu parents concerned over physical classes suspension

Cebu parents concerned over physical classes suspension
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SOME parents and guardians in Cebu have voiced apprehension over the suspension of physical classes, fearing it could hinder and delay the student’s academic progress.

However, an official from the Department of Education (DepEd) 7 expressed a contrasting view, saying that the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic have taught the education department how to work on its lapses.

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, through a memorandum dated April 5, 2024, indefinitely suspended in-person classes in the province due to the extreme heat.

Her decision came after at least 22 local chief executives in the province had already issued directives to change the delivery mode of education in response to the El Niño phenomenon.

In Cebu City, Mayor Michael Rama issued an executive order (EO) on April 6, adjusting class schedules for all educational levels. Under his EO, morning classes will start at 6 a.m. and end at noon, while afternoon classes will run from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Structured learning time

With these, students under modular distance learning utilize self-learning modules available in either print or digital form that are usually implemented in schools in rural areas or provinces with intermittent internet connection.

Patricia, not her real name, 24, said her eight-year-old niece is among the students affected by the suspension of physical classes due to the heat, leading them to study using modules at home.

She, however, said her niece is left on her own to study most of the time.

“Honestly, we do not have time anymore; just like me, after my work at a university, I immediately prepare to go to bed and just rest,” she said.

Likewise, Junesya Yta, from Cebu City and a parent of two school-aged children, opposes school suspensions because they result in her kids having increased screen time.

Yta emphasized the importance of supervision and structured learning time provided in schools.

“If they’re in school, at least someone will supervise them, and they can dedicate more time to their classes,” she said, adding that the scorching heat persists regardless of school suspensions, affecting them even within the confines of their homes.

‘Nothing to worry’

DepEd 7 Director Salustiano Jimenez said parents have nothing to worry about since the department is strategically implementing the modular learning of students.

He said they have already acknowledged the shortcomings in the implementation of modular learning during the Covid-19 pandemic, and these serve as the basis for their current development of modules and techniques.

He added that the teachers are already instructed to provide modules to students even without calamities allowing them to study and learn outside of school.

“So when the time comes, (if) these kids are told to study with their modules, they can do it. It should not be that we prepare when the calamity is already there and go to school to get the modules,” he added.

“Catch-up Fridays”

Jimenez said the implementation of “Catch-up Friday” has become instrumental in cultivating a love for reading among children, a skill he believed will be beneficial under modular learning.

He said this program by DepEd helps address learning gaps among grade school and high school students by dedicating every Friday throughout the school year to reading and values peace and health education.

DepEd started implementing Catch-up Friday on Jan. 12.

No shortened school-year

Meanwhile, Jimenez reiterated that it is not possible to shorten the school year amid calls from parents to shorten it due to intense heat.

Jimenez said the current school year has already been shortened. Further changes to the school calendar to accommodate the request would now be illegal, he added.

He said that there must be a minimum of 180 non-negotiable school days for classes to be held each school year.

DepEd Order 23 in 2016, highlighted that both public and private elementary and secondary schools are mandated to strictly observe 202 school days, with 180 days designated as non-negotiable contact time for teachers. / KJF


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