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No weekend homework?

In 2010, the Department of Education under Secretary Armin Luistro issued DepEd Memorandum No. 392 providing guidelines on the giving of homeworks or assignments to all public elementary school pupils.

The guidelines were issued in response to the complaints of parents about the number of assignments given to students and its effect on the time the students have for family bonding and for rest and leisure, particularly during weekends.

There are groups, including the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, who are currently pushing for the reiteration of the said guidelines. It appears that the guidelines were not effectively adhered to in all public elementary schools, thus the need for the reiteration of the same.

There should be no debate about providing students and their families quality time for bonding. There should also be no debate about the provision of enough time for students’ rest and leisure. There will, however, be debates on whether the adoption of a no-homework-during-weekends policy is the appropriate intervention and whether there is really a need for the Department of Education (DepEd) to “regulate” the giving of homeworks, particularly for public elementary pupils.

DepEd Memorandum No. 392, s. 2010 specifically recognizes the value of homeworks or assignments in increasing the pupils’ knowledge and in developing their abilities and skills.

The appropriate policies should be on optimizing the values of homeworks/assignments and time for family bonding, rest and leisure for the pupils. It will not be in the best interest of the students if they are given the latter at the expense of the former and vice-versa.

Optimizing such values for the students is an inherent responsibility of teachers and principals. Specific interventions should be based on the specific situations in each school.

Giving homeworks/assignments, even during weekends, to make-up for loss school hours due to class suspensions is something that should not be hindered by a policy that does not allow giving of homeworks/assignments during weekends.

School principals can, for example, “regulate” the quantity of homeworks/assignments together with the teachers to ensure that the same will not deprive the students with time for family bonding, relaxation and leisure.

The issue is not really about giving or not giving homeworks or assignments during weekends. The issue is ensuring that the best interests of the students are served.