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Sunday, September 24, 2023
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Support bill to ban early classes

A BILL that bans the scheduling of classes earlier than 8:30 AM makes sense.  And parents, teachers, administrators and students should have Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya to thank if this bill is passed and signed into law.
    
I noticed that a lot of students or pupils are tired at the end of the day after carrying their school bags filled with books and notebooks and it would be asking too much for them to wake up early the next school day for early classes.
    
Not every student has helpers to fetch and carry his/her school bags. Going home at past 3 or 5 pm and studying afterward plus doing the household chores can take a toll on these students who have to wake up earlier than scheduled for their classes.
    
Sleep deprived students are a no-no for schools and sleep deprivation can stunt their physical and mental growth. As a teacher I’ve seen a lot of students walking towards their classes with blank, tired eyes and these are students in both private and public schools in Cagayan de Oro City.
    
Also affected by the early scheduling of classes are the teachers who go home at 10 pm only to attend to their families and household chores aside from preparing for their lesson plans.
    
Not to mention checking on papers and preparing reports for submission to the Department of Education (DepEd) or the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
    
Let’s not forget the parents who have to wake up earlier than scheduled to bring their children to school aside from reporting to their offices. Gasataya cited other factors like fare and fuel costs and location of homes to schools as reasons for banning the early scheduling of classes and it makes a lot of sense.
    
I remembered vividly a neighbor who would walk at 6:30 am to school and then come home late in the day since there were still no motorelas at the time. Point is, there are students who live too far from school and that’s why classes should start at past 8:30 am.
    
It’s a sad reality that mass transportation in the Philippines is woefully behind other countries and only the rich or those with adequate means can drive cars to work and school.
    
In the US the students ride in school buses and some have cars so there is no problem with scheduling of classes. Classes there start at 7:15 am and end at 3 pm while middle school starts at 8:45 am and ends at 4:30 pm.
    
In essence the practice of starting classes early  defeats the purpose of what education is all about as far as the Philippines is concerned.
    
Remember, it-is the policy of the state to adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development in schools.
    
“We must prioritize he physical, mental, and social well-being of students, among others, through an educational system which gives primordial interest and concern to the health and safety of students,” so said Congressman Gasataya last Wednesday.
    
Gasataya is the vice chairman of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education in the 17th Congress.
    
He also argued that other countries had class start later in the day and that some studies conducted abroad had correlated later school start times to improved student performances and achievements.
    
I see no reason why other legislators would not affix their signature on this simple but relevant piece of legislation.  The public should and must support this.

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