As schools gear up to welcome students for the new academic session, Vice President and Department of Education Secretary, Sara Duterte, has urged educational institutions to maintain classrooms devoid of distractions.
Duterte, in her recent release of DepEd Order No. 21, Series of 2023, emphasized the removal of unnecessary artwork, oversized commercial signages, tarpaulins, and other decorations from classrooms. The intent behind this directive is to help students concentrate better on their studies without distractions.
The policy specifically states, “Classroom walls should be left untouched by posters or any other forms of decoration. Furthermore, classrooms should not serve as storage spaces for unused items or materials awaiting disposal.”
In a recent Brigada Eskwela initiative held in Bansalan, Davao del Sur on August 17, Duterte was observed taking down various classroom decorations, including a printed version of her official portrait and contents from a bulletin board.
This move by the department head, however, raised eyebrows among a faction of educators. They highlighted the age-old practice of adorning classrooms with educational posters and materials. Some educators also opined that certain decorations can render the learning environment more welcoming, particularly for younger students.
Responding to these concerns, Duterte stated that having undecorated walls “will allow students to focus primarily on the lessons conveyed by the teachers.”
Simultaneously, as part of the education department’s efforts to enhance the reading and writing proficiency of students, the MATATAG Curriculum will be introduced. “The MATATAG program is designed as an improved iteration of the K-10 curriculum. Our intention is to address and rectify the evident gaps in the previous curriculum that adversely impacted the reading and writing capabilities of our students,” Duterte elucidated during her address at the Philippine Book Festival.
The central idea behind the MATATAG Program is to reignite students’ enthusiasm for written content. This program, as Duterte points out, endeavors to elevate the importance of reading and writing, emphasizing their pivotal role in ensuring success in life.
Furthermore, the Education Secretary assured that the revised curriculum would feature “accurate, responsive, and culturally relevant reading materials.”
On the security front, in light of the school openings scheduled for August 29, the Philippine National Police (PNP) announced the deployment of roughly 32,000 officers across the country.
“All measures are being taken to guarantee the security of students, parents, teaching staff, and other educational professionals,” PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo stated in a public briefing. She also informed about the collaboration between police and school administrations, setting up police desks, and increasing patrolling around educational institutions.
Lastly, in regions recently affected by typhoons and heavy rainfall from the southwest monsoon, police forces are actively participating in refurbishing and cleaning school infrastructures.