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Teachers on criminalizing the act of giving assignments: This is alarming

Criminalizing the act of giving assignments is a “no” for a number of teachers.

In a statement sent to the press, the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) expressed dismay on the two bills that seek to ban homework requirements for basic education schoolchildren.

“This is really alarming. It seems that the legislature assumes the tasks and functions of DepEd and its teachers-curtailing our right to academic freedom. Our teachers are trained educators, we know the value of homework. More than academics, homework teaches discipline, responsibility, continuity of learning and even time management. It may also strengthen family bonding- thus providing quality time for them with their parents and siblings. Homework is not intended to make life difficult for our students,” the TDC noted.

Both submitted to the House of Representatives, the House Bill No. 3611 authored by Sorsogon Representative Evelina Escudero while the House Bill No. 3883 authored by Quezon City Representative Alfred Vargas intends to prohibit teachers from giving assignments to students.

The House Bill No. 3611 seeks to totally ban homework for all learners from kindergarten to senior high school.

On the other hand, the House Bill No. 3883 mandates to ban homework for elementary and secondary students only during weekends. This, however, has stricter provisions, imposing a penalty of P50,000 fine or up to two years imprisonment to violating teachers.

“We maintain the position that specific rules such as homework for schoolchildren does not need a legislation and instead should be left for the DepEd (Department of Education) to decide. Moreover, the provision that seeks to impose a penalty of fine or imprisonment to teachers requiring assignments during weekend is simply unacceptable. Our teachers now are suffering from low pay, heavy workload and too many regulations,” the TDC stressed.

“Both proposals promote physical, mental and psycho-social welfare of children and seek to provide more quality time for their family. Weekend homework, by the way is already prohibited since 2010 through the DepEd Memorandum 392, series of 2010 issued by then Secretary Armin Luistro,” it further noted

The group called on the two lawmakers “to consider withdrawing the bill or initiate a wide consultation with stakeholders, especially classroom teachers who actually do the daily tasks of teaching.”

DepEd supports no homework policy

The DepEd, on the other hand, expressed support on the no homework policy.

“With its issuance of the ‘Guidelines on Giving Homework or Assignment to All Public Elementary School Pupils’, otherwise known as DepEd Memorandum No. 392, series 2010, the Department of Education reiterates its commitment to the holistic development of learners inside and outside the classroom. The said issuance aims to enable learners to have more quality time with their parents, family, and friends by limiting the homework/assignment to a reasonable quantity on school days and by eliminating the same during weekends,” the DepEd said in a statement.

“It is in this regard that the Department supports the no-homework policy proposed by legislators from the House of Representatives. By ensuring that they complete all assignments and projects in school, the no-homework policy enables our learners to find balance between their academic development and personal growth by having ample time for enjoyable activities with family,” it added.

Still, the education department assured that it will further study the other provisions of the bills to determine the repercussions on the current teaching and learning process.

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