The call for an academic break: its pros and cons (First of two parts)

For the first time in many years, the Department of Education (DepEd) has set the opening of classes to October, after several attempts to begin classes a little later than June. Classes were supposed to commence last August 24 nationwide. However, due to Secretary Leonor Magtolis-Briones’ eventual admission that printing and distribution of modules have not been consummated, DepEd was forced to move the opening of classes to a much later date, October 5 to be exact.

As a result of DepEd officials’ hasty decision making and their desperate efforts to look good in the eyes of the general public, they have not realized that they have made a great fool of themselves. Had they readily admitted to the public that they were not ready instead of going around in circles, they would have been spared the public backlash as well as the incessant flogging online.

Hope is never far-fetched, though…only if DepEd would continue to recover from its shameful fallibility instead of relapsing akin to an inveterate alcoholic.

Just recently, some students have just petitioned DepEd to grant them an academic break, stating that a meteoric rise in the number of people afflicted with COVID-19 has been observed and reported. One of the possible reasons behind this could be that students have been grappling with too much academic work as imposed by their teachers. Second, it could be that teachers are becoming more overworked than before and are becoming tired of trying to cope with the demands of DepEd. Third, it is possible that there are many who are having a great deal of difficulty with the distance learning schemes offered by DepEd.

Going back to just a month or two ago, DepEd proposed extending the school year to July, which it has actually implemented. It was supposed to be a noteworthy idea, considering the learning gaps experienced by students during their six-month break. Nevertheless, one of the undersecretaries most prominent on television added fuel to the fire by that only two weeks be allotted for summer break.

What that undersecretary declared was uncalled for, for I call it an insult to students and to teachers.

Secretary Briones, who has the proclivity to utter statements that have not been well-thought and are blatantly inconsiderate, surely made millions clench their fists, pound on their keyboards and keypads, and roll their eyes when she declared that students have already had a six-month vacation, commencing in April 2020 and ending in October of the same year.
What the undersecretary and his superior said reflect DepEd’s half-hearted, insincere attempts to depict the agency as a titan in education, not knowing that it is in a quagmire from which it cannot extricate itself immediately.

The self-aggrandizing, Empress Cixi-aping education secretary was insensitive at that point because she did not realize that students had to rest for six months because DepEd was trying to figure out how to go about the intricacies of distance learning.

Secretary Briones was ostensibly thinking that a majority of the youth would want an academic break just to play mobile games and to do just whatever they want. Granted that this is true, I cannot say that it is totally true for there are still many youth who have great aspirations and unwavering drive to succeed in life. At this juncture, I somehow understand the estimable secretary but I beg to disagree that many are hooked on mobile games and that is all.

Harping on the issue of students requesting for an academic break, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian did not give a nod to the proposal. At that point, he andDepEd are in concordance with each other, citing that learning must be continual with the guidance of teachers, albeit in cyberspace.
In giving credence to fairness, both Senator Gatchalian and DepEd have valid points.

To be fair to the controversy-ridden Department of Education, it is trying its best to implement academic ease, in which teachers are becoming more understanding and lenient in terms of submission of requirements. We concur that there are some teachers who are very stringent when it comes to deadlines (and we understand them because they strive to instill discipline in their students), but the times call for leniency for resources are limited and many are scrambling for internet connection.

DepEd needs to be jackhammered so that it would wake up to the fact that students and teachers need not only academic easing but also a worthy summer break. The agency fails to realize that having breaks increases productivity and helps one to flex one’s muscles and minds.

ERRATUM: In last week’s column article (Is DepEd perpetuating a battle of the sexes?), I was not able to complete the last sentence in the eighth paragraph I am 500% certain that Socrates. It was supposed to be written as: I am 500% certain that Socrates would rise from his grave and give SecretaryBrionesand her doppelgangers a severe tongue-lashing for the misfeasance they have committed against our learners and our teachers.
I apologize to you all for the lapse.

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