Teachers’ groups expressed support Wednesday to the growing calls to implement academic break as the country grapples with the effects of the recent typhoons as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

TEACHER - Teachers’ groups back academic break
(Photo courtesy of DepEd / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) and the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines, in separate statements, supported the calls for academic break mainly initiated by students on the higher education level.

TDC National Chairperson Benjo Basas said that the implementation of an academic break will greatly help students whose families were adversely affected by the recent typhoons that hit the country.

For TDC, the “academic ease” being pushed by the Department of Education (DepEd) is not enough because there are many school work being required from students that need the guidance from their parents.

“Hindi ito praktikal sa panahong hindi pa lubos na nakakaahon ang mga apektado ng bagyo at baha, uunahin pa ba nila ang pagsagot sa module o pagdalo sa online class sa halip na maghanap ng makakain o maglinis ng bahay na nalubog sa putik? (This is not practical at this time because those who were affected by typhoons and floods have yet to recover, are you expecting them to answer the module or attend online class instead of looking for food or cleaning their houses covered with mud?)” Basas asked.

Even before the onslaught of back-to-back typhoons earlier this month, Basas said that some schools such as the Philippine Science High School have been implementing academic break. He noted that University of the Philippines suspended classes and other related activities from Nov. 16 to 21 while Marikina City has declared one-month suspension of classes from Nov. 16 to Dec. 16.

TDC is calling on DepEd to consider academic break particularly for the basic educational level until Nov. 30.

Meanwhile, ACT Philippines expressed support to the string of students’ strike in universities which seek to register their protest against the government’s “criminal negligence” not only of education but also of millions of families who fell victim to the onslaught of the recent typhoons.

“Students and teachers alike have been reeling from state abandonment of education, leading to them bearing the brunt of the ill-equipped distance learning,” said ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.

Basilio said that the government’s “lack of adequate response” to the recent calamities only compounded the suffering of an already spent and beaten people amid the health and economic crises “hence, the clamor for urgent action and accountability is only reasonable.”

ACT also supported the strikes’ objective of unloading students who were either directly hit by the recent calamities or wish to participate in relief efforts in light of the delay, or worse, the total lack of aid from the national government.

 This, the group said, “will offer direly needed lessons, skills, and values to the youth who are vital agents of change and progress, while significantly augmenting support initiatives for the victims.”

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