Ban weekend homework for overworked young Filipinos, lawmaker says | Philippines
A lawmaker in the Philippines has proposed banning schools from doing homework on weekends, saying students are overworked and need to recharge.
Sam Verzosa, member of the Philippine House of Representatives, said the Philippines was going through an “education crisis”, with students spending long hours studying but performing worse on tests.
He cited international rankings, such as the Program for International Student Assessment, which in 2018 ranked the Philippines as the worst performer of 79 countries and economies in reading, and second in science and math.
“Philippine youth are overstretched and yet the Philippines is lagging behind other countries,” Verzosa said, in comments reported by local media.
A bill proposed by Verzosa said the “problem is that students have excessive class hours” that are “low in terms of learning productivity.” “Coming home they are still crammed with homework, even though experts say an hour of homework is enough.”
Under the proposals, primary and secondary school teachers should not give homework or assignments over the weekend, while weekday assignments should be minimal and require no more than four hours per week to complete.
Students need time to “rest and recharge,” Verzosa said, adding that homework also risks widening the gap between wealthy and poorer students, who may be working part-time jobs and not have internet access.
The time children spend in school in the Philippines can vary, with those in provinces spending an average of 10 hours a day in school, while those in cities six hours a day in class, said Ruby Bernardo, secretary of the ‘Alliance of Concerned Teachers.
In the National Capital Region, some schools are operating in shifts, starting at 6 a.m., to manage overcrowding and lack of space in classrooms.
Bernardo said the school system was struggling with underinvestment and a lack of resources, and excessive homework was a symptom. “In my experience as a teacher, the teacher usually gives students homework because we don’t have enough textbooks and materials in the classroom,” she said. Students may be asked to research a topic online at home because there aren’t enough books or laptops to do so at school.
“I can give [students] an impression, but it’s out of my pocket because we don’t have a Xerox copier in our school,” Bernardo said, adding that teachers use their own money for everything from laptops and projectors to balls for physical education.
Schools are particularly overwhelmed now after the pandemic, which led to in-person classes being halted for two years, causing pupils to fall behind, she said, adding that the government’s response had been insufficient.
Verzosa’s proposal reportedly builds on Department of Education guidelines issued in 2010, which advised teachers to limit homework for public elementary students to a reasonable amount on weekdays and not set homework on weekends. . Verzosa’s bill would “institutionalize and expand” that, he said, and include high school students as well.