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Twenty-Seven Percent

27%? That’s two notches above a quarter. Well, that’s almost one-fourth. If I would drink a quarter of a glass of water, that would not satisfy my thirst on a hot day. Well, I guess it could be somewhat relieving. But in times when supposedly there is a gap of thirst that should be addressed, that 27% of water would not do much to satisfy the need. I would need more. But that’s about as much as I could get. I don’t think I could get more.

I got this from a TV news report in which a DepEd official was talking about the turnout of the National Learning Camp which aims to address the learning gaps of Grades 7 and 8 students. I tried to find an online news article to support the report. But, I guess no one has written about it yet. 27%- do we consider that a failure? Well, the usual passing mark is 50%. The turnout is barely half the passing mark. 27% would be equal to a grade of 63.5. That would be a disappointing grade that would dampen the spirits of any parent. What should be done now? Is the student who got 63.5 going to repeat the course. No, I don’t think so. It’s just a summer camp anyway. It’s not the regular school year. Could we call it a failure? Okay, maybe let’s just say, it’s not a very big success. I guess, if it did not turn out very well, maybe, it would be wise not to do it again.

All over the Philippines, only 27% of Grade 7 and 8 students participated in the National Learning Camp program (or at least, that’s what the official on TV said). (If you’re wondering, participation is voluntary, and non-participation does not have any bearing on a student’s scholastic record. He could proceed to Grade 8 or 9 without any problem, even without the participation in the camp.) I understand that this is just the pilot and the Department intends to do it with the other grade levels in the coming school breaks. But would you open a branch if sales are not very high? Not only would you not, you may consider closing shop and starting an entirely new business altogether.

Before you start getting the idea that the kids are not willing to learn and parents are condoning it, it’s like this. It’s the summer break. Well, it’s not the dry season anymore. But, it’s still the break from school. Roughly a month and a half after that, they would be back to school. It’s not even two months. Going to learning camp which is just like semi-school is like surrendering your right to spend vacation. People in general, not just children or students would want to enjoy a break from work. Rest is simply appealing. Well, not only that, it’s as vital as food and water. Come on; you were kids once. Or have you completely forgotten?

It’s also a time for parents to rest. It’s a time for them to rest from daily allowance for transport fare and lunch and snacks. They could rest from the routine of taking children from home to school and fetching them again back. Just the rest from giving allowance would be a big push on the family budget. In a local context, it’s the parents’ time to rest from worrying about the possibility of their child going missing and turning up somewhere. At least, if the kids stay home or in the neighborhood, there would be less chance for them to mysteriously disappear. (You’re probably aware of what’s been happening just around the campuses as of late.) So, their non-participation would be a good help to keeping the blood pressure stable. Now, you might understand how if it’s not mandatory and it’s voluntary, might as well not get with it.

The same goes for participation in the drum andlyre corps, majorettes, boy scots and girl scouts, and Voyadores dancers.

I’m actually glad that the parents and students have inadvertently made a strong stand before the institution that be . I hope the higher-ups get the message that Filipino families put a higher premium on rest over extra-curricular activities or remediation or enhancement classes. I know this program is part of Vice President Duterte’s MATATAG agenda. This should send them back to the drawing board and re-think their bright ideas. If the first steps are already faltering, that should speak volumes about going further. For now, we’ll be going further with Brigada.

Proverbs 3:7: “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.”


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