/ 30 April 2021

THE NATIONAL Union Students of the Philippines decried the plan of the Department of Education to open School Year 2021-2022 on August 23, saying it would cut short students’ break by two weeks.

The group lamented that this would be an added burden to students and teachers. It cited the “negative impacts” of distance learning on the physical and mental health of students and teachers.

“Even after countless calls of both students and teachers on numerous problems caused by the pandemic, the government refuses to take a step back and reassess their approach on online and modular learning,” NUSP National President Jandeil Roperos said.

DepEd Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio earlier said that the agency is considering opening classes on August 23.

If this pushes through, students would only have six weeks of break instead of the usual two months. The current school year will end on July 10.

Roperos said that DepEd must lay down its plans on upholding and protecting the welfare of education frontliners along with its school opening plans.

“From the implementation of distance learning, many cases have been reported from modules not being supplied and delivered to different districts and regions, state propaganda ingrained within activities, as well failure to attend classes due to poor connection and not having enough money to sustain everyday needs,” she said.

She said that “Ligtas na Balik Eskwela” is a better alternative amid the pandemic as it addresses not only the needs of students but also the teachers and staff.

“The Union echoes its call to ensure mass testing, contract tracing and to tackle other modes of learning to ensure the safety and welfare of both students and teachers amid a pandemic,” she added.