Should DepEd give passing grades to students affected by typhoons?

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By Alexander Villafania

MAKATI CITY, METRO MANILA – The Federation of Associations of Private Schools and Administrators (FAPSA) wants students from private and public schools who were affected by the recent typhoons be spared from being given failing grades this semester to compensate for their absences due to the effects of the typhoons.

The action should be similar to what was done in some schools in Marikina City during the onslaught of Typhoon Ondoy in 2009 where much of the city was deluged by floods.

In a statement, FAPSA President Eleazardo Kasilag stressed that many of the affected students lost more than just their grades but their homes.

“Studies are not much a priority so, like what happened to us, crying time would be long and Christmas shall be lonely for sure,” said Kasilag, recounting what happened at St. Nicholas School where he is the school administrator.

He said some students who were previously affected by powerful storms still tremble in fear during heavy rains. The students also become nearly hysterical when they find out that the incoming storm could be a super typhoon.

“In my school St. Nicholas in Marikina, we have a school slogan ‘non scholae sed vitae discimus’ (we study for life not for school). Pedring and Quiel gave them that experience that is much more than the lessons you get from textbooks and schools. The typhoons separated the man from the boy,” Kasilag said.

The Department of Education (DepEd) quickly released a statement countering some of Kasilag’s claims.

The agency stressed that it would not compromise quality of students’ learning with the convenience of giving grades. The agency also warned that giving passing grades could have more negative effects on the students than helping them, citing that the grades don’t matter but rather the simple act of learning and getting quality education.

“It is not enough to just give them passing grades without the proper interventions and appropriate evaluation tools…. If we would give them passing grades with that premise, we won’t compensate for the lost school days, rather, we would only steal from them the opportunity to learn and effectively deprive them of a quality education,” the DepEd said in the statement.

The DepEd will be putting in place a number of interventions to compensate for the lost days due to the typhoons. These include tutorial and make-up classes every Saturdays, alternative and distance learning programs, and home study activities.

“Typhoon is a regular occurrence in the country. Giving automatic passing grades is not a sustainable solution that is why the DepEd has established proper interventions to address class suspensions brought about by bad weather and other natural calamities,” the agency said.


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