Youth group insists on 'academic freeze' for this year

A youth group has criticized the stand of the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) for opposing the postponement of the academic year and reiterated its call for an "academic freeze" until January next year.

"Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK) stands firm in its demand for President Duterte to sign an Executive Order for an Academic Freeze until the month of January to lift the yoke on millions of hard-pressed working-class families," the group said in a statement.

SPARK's statement came after COCOPEA Managing Director Joseph Noel Estrada in a recent interview said that the organization was against the idea of an academic freeze.

Citing that students have lost "almost one year in terms of learning," he claimed that students have only retained 70 percent of their learnings from reading, and 50 percent from math and other subjects.

However, SPARK said that Estrada's statistics seem to be "pulled entirely out of thin air," and slammed the official for claiming that academic freeze should not be for everyone without following up what it means.

The group added that Estrada's statement that an academic freeze would force students to catch up on more lessons is "entirely true" as its point is to temporarily stop lessons.

"SPARK condemns these actions and demands for the complete expulsion of the private sector from the education system and other social services. In times like this, the masses need a better call towards stopping the rot of the education system, such as an academic freeze," the group emphasized.

According to the student group, its call for an academic freeze will alleviate the burden of students.  They also wanted teachers and school workers' salaries to be paid in full in both public and private schools, and continuing social aid for all those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.