The Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday set aside proposals to install air conditioners in public schools amid the extreme heat, saying that it has financial constraints and other solutions to the problem.
DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa issued the remark after Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) Federation president Willy Rodriguez said classrooms should be made air-conditioned to address the learning disruptions in some areas due to the heat spikes.
Rodriguez recalled that in 2013, the PTA was able to collect old aircon units and also bought new ones to be installed in some classrooms.
“Ang isang solusyon diyan ay hindi calendar change, hindi rin modular. Ang solusyon diyan, magkaron tayo ng air-conditioned classroom for public schools. Kung makikita niyo, walang reklamo ang ating mga private schools. Napakadali gumawa ng aircon kung tutuusin,” he said.
(The solution to that is not calendar change nor modular learning. The solution is to have air-conditioned classrooms in public schools. If you can see, our private schools have no complaints. It is very easy to make air conditioners.)
In response, Poa said the Education Department has budget restrictions, but stressed that classes could still continue despite the warm weather through alternative delivery modes.
“Of course…we have fiscal restrictions sa budget. Napakarami pa, hindi lang aircon ang problema natin, napakarami pa nating mga dapat paggastusan sa ating mga classrooms,” he said.
(Of course we have fiscal restrictions in our budget. We have so many expenses to address the problems in our classrooms, and installing aircons is just one of them.)
The DepEd earlier said that school heads have the discretion to suspend face-to-face classes and shift to modular distance learning due to extreme heat and power outages being experienced in several parts of the country.
A survey of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) showed that a huge majority of teachers in the country reported that students are finding it difficult to concentrate on their studies due to "dry season heat.”
With this, Senate basic education committee chairperson Sherwin Gatchalian said that it’s about time to revert the school break to April and May, considering the number of students who have suffered from heat exhaustion lately.
ACT had suggested the adoption of 185 class days annually to gradually bring back the summer school break after five years. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News