Gatchalian disagrees with nationwide academic break; warns poor learners will be left behind

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A nationwide academic break? Senator Win Gatchalian disagrees, while maintaining that the decision to implement an academic break should be left to basic education and higher education institutions.

Gatchalian reiterated that poor and vulnerable learners, who are already struggling since the pandemic began, will be left behind because of additional disruptions that a nationwide academic break will bring. The lawmaker also warned of exacerbated effects linked to prolonged school closures such as learning loss, widening inequalities, and increased exposure to violence, among others.

“I don’t agree with the call to implement a nationwide academic break. Iba-iba naman ang quarantine qualification at may mga lugar na walang lockdown. Mahirap naman pong mag-academic freeze sa isang lugar na walang kaso ng COVID-19. Kaya hindi pwede itong academic freeze para sa pangkalahatan dahil iba-iba ang sitwasyon,” Gatchalian said.

“Sa basic education, isang taon nang hindi nagpupunta sa mga eskwelahan ang mga bata at kapag sila ay patuloy na bibigyan ng break at hindi sila mag-aaral, talagang makakalimutan na nila ang kanilang pinag-aralan,” he added.

In Isabela, which is under General Community Quarantine (GCQ), the Department of Education (DepEd) suspended the distribution and retrieval of self-learning modules and other face-to-face activities after five DepEd personnel recently died due to COVID-19. Teachers in the division are expected to remotely continue their follow-ups and monitoring of learners.

Meanwhile, some colleges and universities in ‘NCR Plus’ already suspended classes or implemented academic ease measures due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. These include the University of Santo Tomas, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Cavite State University, and De La Salle University.

Gatchalian stressed that while the NCR Plus has now been placed under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine MECQ until the end of the month, he pointed out that most of the country is under General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) and Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) — where distance or flexible learning can still continue. SENATE.GOV.PH