Extreme heat and calamities are among the factors that have immensely affected the education of school children. 

This, after results of a preliminary study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) showed that around 53 of the 180 teaching days were lost the past school year. The number is equivalent to almost three months of teaching. 

Key findings of the PIDS assessment of the MATATAG K-to-10 pilot in 35 schools highlighted the challenges in the implementation of the new curriculum. Among them is missed time in actual teaching. 

In a statement, PIDS Senior Fellow Dr. Mike Abrigo says this was due to myriad of factors including “student off-class activities such as competitions and school celebrations, non-teaching tasks such as workshops, training, and other administrative tasks.” 

This worsened due to extreme heat that engulfed the country in the past months. 

Teaching days are defined as the time where students and teachers spend time interacting. 32 of the 53 lost teaching days were due to the high heat index among other calamities. During this time, teaching days are substituted with modular and online learning methods. 

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

In a press release, the Second Congressional Commission on Education expressed concern as 53 days “accounts for up to 30% of the 180 days contact time for teaching historically required based DepEd Order Nos. 23 s. 2016 and 25 s. 2017. 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.” 

To compensate lost time the Department of Education in February announced through an order, moving the start of classes this coming school year to July 29, 2024 and the gradual reversion to the old school calendar next year.

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