Students lose nearly 3 months of learning in SY 2023-2024 --- study

DepEd urged to find ‘creative solutions’ to address lost teaching days


At a glance

    Fifty-three days, or almost three months worth of teaching, were lost in the recently closed school year (SY) 2023-2024 amid the ongoing learning recovery efforts of the Department of Education (DepEd).

    02 students MB Visual Content Group.jpg
    (DepEd / MB Visual Content Group) 

    In a statement released on June 18, the Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM 2) cited the preliminary findings of a study conducted by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), which assessed the MATATAG K to 10 pilot implementation in 35 schools.


    “Estimates show that 53 teaching days were lost in the school year 2023-2024 due to non-teaching tasks and activities assigned to them, on top of the school closures due to calamities and local holidays,” EDCOM noted, citing the results of the PIDS study.

    “Based on the data gathered by PIDS, 53 days is already equivalent to almost 3 months worth of teaching,” said EDCOM 2 Executive Director Karol Mark Yee.

    Based on 2024 Survey of Public School Teachers, and staff compilation. School closures due to calamities include face-to-face class suspensions due to high heat index in April and May 2024.

    Yee noted that “this is concerning” because it accounts for up to 30 percent of the 180 days of contact time for teaching historically required based on existing DepEd orders.

    “This means that even if we keep decongesting the curriculum, if there is no opportunity or actual days to teach the students, there is very limited time to absorb the lessons,” Yee said.

    Learning loss, MATATAG Curriculum

    Based on the study’s key findings, it was highlighted that the existing challenges, such as lost teaching days, may “limit the implementation” of the new curriculum.

    The phased implementation of the MATATAG curriculum starts this upcoming SY 2024-2025 for Kinder, Grades 1, 4, and 7.


    The PIDS study found that among the challenges that may affect the implementation of the new curriculum is the “amount of time that could have been allotted to actual teaching but was missed by teachers” for several reasons.

    “Based on their recall of the past year, public school teachers who participated in the survey missed an average of 25 teaching days between September 2023 and March 2024,” PIDS Senior Fellow Dr. Mike Abrigo said.

    “Actual teaching days are lost because of student off-class activities such as competitions and school celebrations, non-teaching tasks such as workshops, training, and other administrative tasks, and school closures due to conflict and typhoons,” he added.

    Teaching days, or contact time, refer to the time teachers and students spend interacting.

    PIDS noted that of the estimated 53 teaching days, 32 days are affected by the high heat index and other calamities.

    As per DepEd policy, schools must use alternative delivery modes (ADM) like modular and online learning during these days.

    During the pandemic, however, 75 percent of learners used printed modules for distance learning. This suggests that the 32 days are also lost teaching days as students likely had limited interaction with their teachers.

    “There were practically no face-to-face classes in April-May due to the high heat index across the country,” Abrigo said.

    “These figures are estimates because we need to weigh this with the actual incidence by day. Nevertheless, from our experience in visiting schools from Visayas and Mindanao, there were no classes since the start of April,” he added.

    Take this seriously

    Recognizing the potential impact of lost teaching days on the implementation of the MATATAG curriculum, DepEd was urged to address the issue.

    “We acknowledge the efforts already undertaken by the Department to move the school calendar, and to reduce administrative tasks of teachers,” Yee said.


    “These would go a long way in recovering lost teaching days,” Yee said. “However, given the severity of the issue, we hope the DepEd could seriously look into the matter and find creative solutions to address this,” he added.

    In January 2024, DepEd released DepEd Order No. 002, s. 2024, or the “Immediate Removal of Administrative Tasks of Teachers,” which prohibits schools from including administrative tasks such as personnel and records management, financial management, and property custodianship, among others into the workload of teachers.


    Last February, the government also announced the moving of classes to July 29, 2024, issued through DepEd Department Order No. 003, s. 2024, to gradually revert to the old school calendar.


    DepEd, for its part, expressed hope to “better implement this new policy in the coming months and see improvements in data.”

    Education Undersecretary for Curriculum and Teaching Gina Ginoong said that DepEd is also “taking measures to ensure that the time allotted for teaching is really being followed in the field.”


    Addressing the concerns of teachers

    Citing the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, EDCOM 2 noted that teachers are required to teach six (6) hours of actual classroom teaching in a day.

    DepEd will also have to classify the related tasks to be included in the remaining two (2) hours of the workday.

    Yee pointed out that these are the same concerns that EDCOM 2 got from their focus group discussions with teachers conducted in different parts of the country.

    “Teachers shared with us how they are in classrooms but could not teach due to urgent reports for submission to DepEd,” Yee said. “It is critical, therefore, that school days translate to learning days,” he added.

    EDCOM 2 Co-Chairperson Senator Win Gatchalian, for his part, said teachers “have long clamored for support so they can focus on teaching, which is being sidelined by non-teaching tasks.”

    While the DepEd has previously relieved teachers from non-teaching tasks, Gatchalian said that it will take “some time and considerable resources before we can have adequate non-teaching personnel.”

    “Nevertheless, we need to start filling those gaps and look at other strategies such as digitalization in our schools,” he added.

    EDCOM 2 Co-Chairperson Congressman Roman Romulo also urged DepEd to “take a look” at the study of PIDS and address these concerns to ensure a smooth implementation of the revised K to 10 curriculum.