‘Heartless’: Youth group calls out DepEd for planning to extend school year

Published February 22, 2021, 2:40 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

The plan of the Department of Education (DepEd) to extend the current school year is just “way too dense,” an activist youth organization said. 

(JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“We strongly doubt that the solution to the problem of inaccessible online classes, is to simply hold more online classes,” Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK) spokesperson for senior and junior high students Justin Dizon said. 

SPARK, in a statement issued on Feb. 21, expressed opposition to the suggestion of DepEd to cut the “summer” break in the school year to two weeks to make way for adjustments in the distance learning academic calendar. 

For the group, this proposal is simply absurd since it would only further turn learning under the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic into a privilege. 

“After months of students, teachers, workers, and parents calling for a pause to the academic year, the fact that DepEd comes up with the solution of extending the year just proves how little they care about their constituents or how much they know of its impacts,” Dizon said.

SPARK also criticized DepEd’s “heartless attitude” when it comes to the students who died by suicide this school year alone. 

“Instead of addressing the issue by creating policies that made online learning free, more accessible and less stressful, they prefer to wash the blood off their hands,” Dizon alleged. “Education officials must ponder on the thirty-four lives they have struck down,” he added.

In various interviews last week, DepEd undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio confirmed that there is a proposal to adjust the school calendar to give opportunity to students to complete their academic requirements. 

However, San Antonio said that there is “no final decision” on this matter yet and a DepEd Order will be formally issued once a decision has been made by the members of the agency’s Executive and Management committees.

 
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