In the past year, students and teachers have been demanding more compassion from the Department of Education (DepEd) after facing difficulties in the government’s sloppy implementation of its online learning program. Most of the problems in the program, among them are worsening mental health conditions and a lack of free digital learning tools, have yet to be addressed.
Naturally, the school year has left students and teachers drained and looking forward to the summer break. Apparently, no relief is in sight. Because DepEd undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio revealed in an interview with 24 Oras that the upcoming break might be cut short…to two weeks. “Hindi na magkakaroon ng mahabang break sa pagitan ng dalawang taong pasukan. Baka dalawang linggo lang,” said San Antonio. Cue the Kubrick horror music.
San Antonio said the DepEd was considering the move to give way to a possible two-week extension of the current school year. The rationale? DepEd wants to give students more time to complete school requirements. According to 24 Oras, a field report submitted to DepEd stated that 99% of students were able to submit school requirements.
But for San Antonio, the less than 1% of the at least 20 million students who have not submitted the school requirements is still a “significant number.” He added that having met school requirements “doesn’t necessarily mean that students had really learned” from the school year. Thus, the proposal to extend the school calendar by two more weeks, time that would however eat into the students’ normal summer break.
Expectedly, news of the abbreviated summer break faced heavy backlash on social media, and DepEd trended on Twitter as netizens explained why they’re not in favor of the decision.
Some of them accused the DepEd of lacking empathy and of treating students and teachers like robots.
DepEd wanting the summer break of students from 2 months into 2 weeks shows that they don't have empathy towards the students, teachers, and parents
— Sparky (@SPRKYWASTAKEN) February 18, 2021
DepEd thinks humans are robots to have a summer vacation for 2 weeks: pic.twitter.com/AtUIrPnR88
— HAVE U SEEN THIS GILF💙 WRITING COMMISSIONS OPEN💙 (@genomynt) February 17, 2021
deped said "104 days of summer vacation" but without the zero </3
— leigh (@souffleighh) February 18, 2021
Others highlighted how balancing online learning with their household responsibilities has been physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting.
deped right now thinking that we can finish all of our activities/requirements and chores while being emotionally unstable. pic.twitter.com/KVtgm0OneK
— Seb (@swaggysebi) February 18, 2021
i get how deped worries about the day count of this school year since we started late but they really shouldn't prolong this s.y since it's obviously so suffocating for students. besides, learning like this doesn't feel like learning at all
— ara || jjk x hq au📌 (@sunshineshoyou_) February 18, 2021
Those who are under the jurisdiction of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) also called DepEd out and expressed hope that their break won’t be cut short too.
CHED please make a good decision for students. Please don't be selfish like DepEd. 😩 pic.twitter.com/TuzfFMSMos
— fam♡ (@famxloey) February 18, 2021
There are teachers who stated that they barely get rest during the usual two-month summer break, and cutting it short would mean that they’d only get a day or two off. One netizen posted a video of teachers riding a small boat just to reach students who live on an island—proof of how they’ve been working above and beyond expectations so that their students don’t get left behind.
I am a public school teacher and I am not in favor of this!!! In reality, teachers don’t actually get to have 2 months summer rest but rather 1-2 weeks only because of paperworks and grades. So @DepEd_PH you expect us to have 1-2 days rest tapos klase agad??? We are not machines!
— Gerri28 (@GerriKim28) February 18, 2021
DepEd needs to reconsider the proposal to cut short the students’ summer break and attend to matters that it must prioritize. So far, it has failed to provide a more inclusive educational alternative for students in far-off and poverty-stricken communities. Teachers still await the promised wage hike after a year of adapting to a new system where some of them had to deliver modules to remote areas or teach outdoors because of poor internet connectivity. The least the agency can do is allow teachers and students more time to recuperate. Pushing through with this idea is inhumane.
Photo screengrabbed from the “Phineas and Ferb Theme Song” video
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