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Palace dismisses calls for academic break

Malacañang dismissed suggestions to declare an academic break in the aftermath of two destructive typhoons compounded by a deadly coronavirus pandemic.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the typhoons and pandemic “did not have much effect” on education because online learning is the primary mode of instruction.

Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago and a number of student organizations have asked for a nationwide suspension of classes to allow students to cope with lost computers, mobile devices and learning materials as a result of widespread flooding in several provinces.

Elago added an academic break is needed because of the damage brought by the typhoons to internet infrastructure and other equipment needed for online learning.

Roque said the recent calamities will not interfere with education because government is not allowing face-to-face classes.

“Our public schools are under blended learning. The primary mode of instruction is modular,” Roque said.

Roque also said the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has allowed universities and colleges to extend the semester up to two weeks to accommodate class suspensions due to typhoons.

CHED has also rejected the clamor for academic break for college students and left the decision to suspend classes to university administrators.

“The decision of CHED is for universities and colleges that failed to conduct classes due to the typhoons to extend the class period for one to two weeks so they can finish the semester,” he said.

Universities such as Ateneo de Manila University, University of Santo Tomas and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines have already suspended their synchronous and asynchronous activities to help students and faculty members cope with the effects of Typhoon Ulysses.

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