DepEd: Students may face shorter vacations due to numerous class suspensions

February 23 ------ Amid the rising number of class suspensions in several regions for various reasons, students may have shorter vacations because of the extensions. The Department of Education (DepEd) says that Summer vacations may be shortened but this will be the last resort and will only be implemented in selected areas. Education Secretary Leonor Briones said the law requires a specific number of days in which teachers are required to hold classroom discussions with their students.

There are 203 days for the School Year 2019-2020 but due to class suspensions, the number of days may be lesser. The minimum number of days, however, for actual school days is 180. If this is lessened, remedial classes should be organized. "The law provides there should be a specific number of days for teachers to have face-to-face discussions with their students. So, what they usually do is they have extension of classes," Briones said.

"But how they will extend classes, ----whether longer hours during the day or on Saturdays or on Sundays or however they do it, they will have to comply with what is required by law," she added. But will students agree to having a shorter Summer vacation?

A female student interviewed in Dano Tingcungco's report on State of the Nation with Jessica Soho on Tuesday is not amenable to a shortened vacation. "From province ako, kailangan ko ng quality time sa family ko naman. Kung paiiklin pa po ang summer vacation, mas maikli rin yung time na kasama ko family ko," she said. Another student stressed students have the right to rest and spend time with their family. DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio clarified that only schools whose classes were severely affected - such as those located near the Taal Volcano area- would implement class extensions.

"Depende sa area. Kung talagang hindi naturuan 'yung bata at hindi rin nagkaroon ng time to learn, maaaring magkaroon ng extra days na ang usual na pinopropose iyan. Additional Saturday meetings," said Antonio. According to the report, the DepEd clarified that pushing for a longer school calendar was a last resort. Antonio said the affected schools could implement additional meetings on weekends. If this was not enough, they could extend a bit more, he said. However, Antonio said that if teachers were able to "cover all the competencies of the module", make-up classes would be unnecessary.

"The makeup classes may be in several forms. Extended class days so instead of just 1 hour per subject, gawin mong 1 hour and fifteen minutes every day until naubos mo na 'yung na kulang na time," he explained.