THE usually horrendous traffic during the Christmas season is mainly due to the season and not schools so the authorities should not make the education of students suffer because of situations not of their making, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said on Monday.
“What I have noticed as a teacher myself, we also notice that the buildup of Christmas traffic accelerates even during the Christmas break for the children,” she said, noting that an early Christmas break will likely not alleviate traffic congestion.
“Does it happen during school season or does it still happen even after classes are already closed? Christmas is what Christmas is,” she said, adding that Christmas season traffic is really bad up to New Year’s Eve, long after the start of students’ Christmas break.
Briones was reacting to a proposal by Senator Grace Poe that students be given an early Christmas break this year to help ease traffic during the holiday rush.
During the Senate hearing on the DepEd’s proposed 2017 budget of P566 billion, Poe asked Briones if an early Christmas break or extended classes during the summer is feasible even though the academic calendar has already been set.
But Briones said changing the school calendar might result in classes being extended and running into Holy Week and affecting summer classes.
The education chief also explained the challenges of holding classes during summer since classrooms were not built for the summer heat.
“It would affect [the students’] learning capacity. Summer is also a time for summer diseases. We have to consider all of these in a school calendar, which applies for the country,” Briones said.
“It is not only schoolchildren who add to the traffic, it’s really Christmas itself which accelerates [traffic]. There are no more students [in schools] and you still have traffic,” she added.
Briones, however, said she appreciated Poe’s effort to find a solution to the country’s traffic woes without resorting to emergency powers, adding that the DepEd will decide on the proposal by the first week of October.