Sen. Win Gatchalian
By Brenda L. del Rosario
MANILA — Filipinos believe that a continuous education will speed up the progress of one’s family and ensure the better future of the new generation.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said yesterday that he did not see how an academic freeze will help the country’s aspiration to continue education and mitigate risks associated with prolonged school closures.
Because of the calls for academic freeze, the senator suggested to let the local government units or the academic institutions to decide since these two institutions has the best knowledge in making an assessment involving the educational units in the country.
“While there were calls for a Luzon-wide and nationwide academic break, the decision to suspend classes to aid recovery efforts should be left to LGUs or the academic institutions based on their assessment of the calamities’ impact on their constituencies, including their capacity to resume classes. Marikina City, for instance, has a month-long suspension of classes in all levels, while class suspensions in the province of Cagayan would last until November 30,” Gatchalian said.
“Prior to the opening of classes when some groups were calling for an academic freeze due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have already warned about its long-term effects such as increased learning losses, inequalities, and exposure to violence, child labor, and teenage pregnancy among others—all of which were observed in crises such as the Ebola outbreak in Africa and Typhoon Yolanda in our own country,” he continued.
It can be recalled that when Gatchalian ran for and won in the 2016 Philippine Senate election, he batted for Free Higher Education. Then in 2017 the Senate passed the Free Higher Education Act which co-authored and co-sponsored by the young senator.
This was later signed by President Rodrigo Duterte into law and now known as the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act or Republic Act No. 10931. (AI/MTVN)