Academic freeze opposed

A federation of private schools opposed the growing call for an academic freeze as many schools have started classes even before the opening of public schools on Oct. 5.

The Federation of Associations of Private Schools and Administrators (FAPSA), with about 3,000 members, said that the calls for an academic freeze are very untimely especially at this time when the many private schools are fighting for their survival.

(Photo courtesy of DepEd / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“There is the move called academic freeze to halt classes until the vaccine comes now (even) if that pushes through, the private schools will continue,” said FAPSA President Eleazardo Kasilag. “We are ready to face the new normal and even make it a ‘better’ normal,” he added.

Kasilag noted that ahead of the Oct. 5 school opening, many private schools “have started” their school year after complying with protocols and set by the Department of Education (DepEd). “Private schools have invested a huge amount of money for the preparation -- there’s no turning back,” he added.

The call for #AcademicFreeze has been trending in the past few days after an online petition via addressed to the DepEd cited various reasons why the academic school year should be cancelled.

In the petition posted by a user with the handle name “The Ruins,” the School Year (SY) 2020-2021 should be cancelled due to unstable Internet connection in the country which greatly affects online learning. The petitioner also cited additional costs for distance learning such gadgets and devices as well as WiFi connection.

There are 227,946 signatories as of Sept. 7. The petitioner is targeting 300,000 signatures.

An academic freeze refers to the suspension or cancellation of the academic calendar and non-admission of students across all levels. The petitioner claimed that “academic freeze is vital in this time wherein there is a pandemic.”

The call for an academic freeze did not sit well for FAPSA. “The voice of FAPSA administrators is deafening, clear, and objective: We are not for freezing,” Kasilag said.