In response to the contrasting opinions from the sector of education about the bills filed at the House of Representatives to prohibit take-home assignments for students on weekends, Senate Bill 966 was filed to mandate teachers to refrain from giving primary and secondary students’ homework on weekends.
Senate Bill No. 966
Senator Grace Poe, on Tuesday, August 27, filed Senate Bill No. 966 and released it to the media on Wednesday.
SB No. 966, seeks to establish no take-home assignments for all the primary and secondary schools in the country.
The bill’s objective is to “safeguard and promote the welfare of teachers and school children, protect them from conditions that may adversely affect their health and their right to a balanced life.”
Minimal homework on weekdays
On her proposed measure, teachers may only assign homework to students on weekdays, and will not need more than four hours to be completed.
“Assigning homework to students will only be allowed on weekdays; provided, that such homework shall be minimal and will not require more than four hours to be completed,” the bill states.
“More homework gives additional workload to our already overworked teachers and takes away valuable time that could have been spent with family and other activities,” she added.
She also said that such a task “also gives additional stress to students, teachers, and parents.”
Poe cited a study from 2009 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Program for International Student Assessment showing that “after around four hours of homework per week, the additional time invested in homework has a negligible impact to student’s performance.”
“Further, it looked at homework hours around the world and found that there wasn’t much of a connection between how much homework students of a particular country do and how well their students score on tests,” the bill read.
Highlights the gap between socioeconomic status
According to her, this will also highlight the gap between the rich and the poor, remarking that assignments vary by socioeconomic status and that poor students have “limited access to resources necessary to complete their homework.”
The bill would institutionalize and expand the Department of Education’s Memorandum Circular No. 392 issued in 2010, ordering teachers to limit assigning homework to public elementary school pupils and refrain from giving homework on weekends.
DepEd Bureau of Learning Delivery Director Leila Areola also said, “Our department reiterates its support to the holistic development of our learners by enabling them to have a balance of academic development and that of their professional growth and that’s giving them more time to be with their families.”
Areola admitted the department has yet to further study the effects of the “No-Homework” policy on the student’s learning process.
“Actually what we’re going to do in the Department of Education, we have to do further studies of the most probably severe repercussion of this proposed bill to the teaching-learning process, and that’s something we still have to talk about,” she said.
More senators support the no-homework policy
Some senators on Wednesday also expressed their support on the no-homework policy proposed in the House of Representatives, saying teachers should be given the right to determine how much assignments they should give to students.
Senator Joel Villanueva
“I support the no-homework policy on weekends which is currently being encouraged by DepEd (Department of Education),” Sen. Villanueva said.
“Kids should be able to spend more time with their families and explore things outside the regular class curricula. This will encourage our kids to enhance their creativity and deep thinking,” added Villanueva.
Villanueva said teachers can give simple assignments on weekdays just to validate what they learned during the day.
“I think on weekdays, we can limit it to light homework which will not require students to spend more than 15 minutes per subject just to validate what they learned during the day,” Villanueva said.
“Sometimes, kids spend too much time doing homework and projects that they are deprived of sleep. That is also not healthy,” he pointed out.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian also said he is open to the proposal saying what is important is for teachers to come up with a better mechanism that would encourage students to study well.
“I believe that our teachers are more than capable to discern what and how much homework to assign to their students to encourage good study habits and foster intellectual development,” Gatchalian said.
“Having said that, we will, of course, study the proposal carefully,” added Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts, and Culture.
Gatchalian emphasizes what is important is “an efficient pedagogy that will lead to better learner outcomes.”
“In the meantime, our priority is to ensure that the K-12 curriculum is up-to-date, responsive to the demands of the current job market, and calibrated to address job mismatch and underemployment,” he said.