MANILA, Philippines - To make up for the lost school days from the consecutive class suspensions brought by the inclement weather, the Department of Education (DepEd) will add at least two extra school hours a day or Saturday classes in affected public elementary and high schools "effective as soon as possible."
'Ultimately, it is the call of the school heads and school district supervisors (SDS) which method is best applicable in their local situation-either adding hours or days or holding Saturday classes," said Education Secretary Armin Luistro in an official statement.
Luistro said that school heads and SDS "are given the discretion to conduct make up classes because they are in the best position to determine the local situation."
He added that to minimize the effect of lost school days, "we are deploying alternative learning system (ALS) mobile teachers to conduct classes in evacuation areas."
Meanwhile, public school teachers asked the DepEd to monitor cases of "premature" imposition of make-up classes and to remind its officials to follow "the guidelines of the imposition of make-up classes."
The Teachers' Dignity Coalition (TDC) said that the group has been receiving reports "that some of the schools ordered their teachers and students to report to school last Saturday purportedly to make-up for lost class days due to Typhoon Gener."
TDC National Chairperson Benjo Basas cited that school heads in Bacoor City in Cavite have already conducted make-up classes even if the 180 contact days are not yet compromised. "I think the decision is very abrupt considering that Bacoor was among those coastal areas in Luzon affected by the flooding and storm surge that hit Manila Bay last week," he said.
However, Basas said that despite the lost school days, DepEd field officials "must be very considerate."
"Teachers, students and their families were affected by the typhoon and requiring them to report to school the weekend following a weeklong storm is an act of insensitivity," he said.
The TDC also asked DepEd to remind its "school officials that the imposition of make-up classes in lieu of lost school days must be considerate of community situation and the requirement under DepEd rules."
With the suspension of classes for consecutive days brought by heavy rains that resulted to massive flooding, Education Secretary Armin Luistro said that school heads and School District Superintendents (SDS) "are in-charge when it comes to conducting make-up classes."
However, TDC said that school administrators who are enforcing the Saturday make-up classes due to the class suspension should be reminded by the DepEd to "consider everything before we impose Saturday make-up classes, from the situation of localities to the technical requirements under DepEd rule."
As per school calendar, make-up classes may only be required if the 180 non-negotiable teaching days have been compromised. "We have 20 buffer days in a year and those can be spent for local holidays and activities or even class suspension due to inclement weather," he said.
When asked for reaction, DepEd said that "some schools really do it immediately after suspension para di na sila mag-extend towards the end of the school year but some choose to do it at the end."