Private schools oppose 'academic freeze' that may lead to learning loss

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 5) — A private school group is opposing calls for an ‘academic freeze’ or suspension of classes in the wake of the health crisis, warning it may lead to learning loss.

“Hindi po ito praktikal at lalo pong dadami ang problema. ‘Yung effects po will be more serious and compounding,” Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations managing director Joseph Noel Estrada told CNN Philippines’ Newsroom Weekend on Saturday.

[Translation: This is not practical. There will be more problems. Effects will be more serious and compounding.]

Estrada said the cancellation of classes in all levels since March to curb the spread of coronavirus wiped out at least half of the knowledge gained by students from last school year.

“’Yung retention, ‘yung knowledge, education gains nila from last year, 70% na lang sa reading; and sa math and other subjects, around 50% na lang,” Estrada noted.

[Translation: Their retention, knowledge, education gains from last year for reading have gone down to 70 percent. In Math and other subjects - it is down to 50 percent.]

Estrada said this means that “they’ve lost almost one school year in terms of learning.”

He said further delaying the opening of classes means students would have to catch up to more lessons.

People online continue to call for ’academic freeze’ as students and teachers share struggles in distance learning such as lack of gadgets and connectivity.

Estrada said learners and educators with economic difficulties deserve help and support from the government.

He said the academic freeze “should not be for everyone, although it remains an option for some parents.”

The Department of Education moved the opening of school year 2020-2021 for kindergarten to high school to October 5. The earlier date was August 24. But DepEd allowed some private basic educational institutions to hold classes before October 5 as long as these are limited to distance learning.

Meanwhile, some colleges and universities have begun classes using the digital platform, the Commission on Higher Education previously said. Hundreds more are set to begin their academic calendar this month and in October, it added.