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Lawmakers in the Philippines recently passed the “No Homework on Weekends Act of 2019” and the Department of Education Secretary supports this bill. This is actually not new since the previous Education Secretary Armin Luistro in 2010 issued DepEd Memorandum No. 392 mandating all teachers to minimize the giving of homework/assignments (at least) “to a reasonable quantity to give their pupils ample time to rest and relax at home for the rest of the day.” Also, homework/assignments is no longer explicitly included in the grading system under the K to 12 Education program. That means, assignments/homework are not mandatory to be graded.

I have read the Bill 3883 and when passed, teachers would no longer be allowed to give ANY homework or assignment on weekends.  It seems that this is TOTAL BAN of assignments during the weekend.

As a teacher myself who has taught for 10 years both for private and public schools, I have apprehensions as to the total ban of homework over the weekend. Though I don’t really give homework during the weekends most of the time, I would give one when the need arises.

For example, there are times that I would give links to Youtube videos and websites at the end of a particular lesson and tell the pupils that if they can access internet at home or through their parent’s mobile phones, they can visit these sites and learn more about the lesson.

Another concrete example is when I asked my pupils to do a performance task in my Music subject and since there is not enough time to practice in school (due to double shift scheduling), I would tell them to continue practicing at home. I would even sent letters to parents to assist their children in doing their homework at home.

Another kind of homework that i give is when I distribute reading materials to students and tell them to practice reading the materials at home over the weekend together with their parents.

Are these unreasonable? I don’t think so. These kinds of assignments, I believe, adds a meaningful bonding activity to children and parents.

As a teacher myself, I have learned the significance of giving week-end assignments to our students such as:

  • helping students retain the lessons they learned in class for the entire week
  • catch up with their difficulties
  • fill-up the gaps (of instruction) attributed by lack of school facilities and learning materials
  • establish home-school collaboration (It helps parents learn about what their children are learning in school. Believe me because I’m a parent myself. Also, for public school teachers like us who have A LOT OF STUDENTS in one classroom, we certainly need the assistance of parents in educating their children).

There are so many reasons why we give assignments to our students and it’s NOT JUST TO GIVE ADDITIONAL BURDEN to students and their families because I believe that most teachers, if not all, have the purest and sincerest intentions to the students. I am not saying that I’m totally against the bill. I’m also a mother myself and it’s true that when too much homework is given to our kids, it sometimes causes stress not just to the kids but also to the parents. What I want to point out is that it’s not necessarily the assignments/homework that limits family bonding time and play among children on weekends. Sometimes other factors contribute such as letting the children use social media or play online games for hours. It is now the challenge among teachers on what type of assignments and homework they would give to the students that would not hinder family and play time.

My stand on the issue? No to TOTAL Ban of Homework on Weekends. Instead, our curriculum developers/ bosses/ higher up should set parameters that will make homework beneficial for the learner, especially those which are or will be given on weekends. As to how? They should know that. They’re the experts. But I seriously recommend to consider asking teachers for ideas and opinions. Also, the department should provide more facilities and learning materials and build more school buildings and infrastructure so there will be no double shift schedules and there will be less students in one classroom so all the activities can be done in the school.

Rules and regulations for such policy is not stated yet since it would be the Department of Education who would create the regulations if the bill will be passed. I hope they will get different perspectives from different stakeholders. The education system in the Philippines, particularly in the public school setting, is more complicated as it seems and whatever the government decides, it will have the greatest impact on those who are in the grassroots level, the TEACHERS and PUPILS. Ang tanong ko lang, pinapakinggan ba talaga ang mga nasa aktwal na mga scenario bago gumagawa ng panukala or desisyon ang gobyerno? 

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News Reporter

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