Why the MMDA wants 4-day school week

Posted at 02/13/14 9:07 PM

MANILA -- The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is proposing a 4-day school week for elementary and high school students to reduce traffic as major construction projects start.

The construction of the Skyway 3, which will connect the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) with South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), will begin on Monday.

According to MMDA, the average speed of 30 kilometers per hour along major roads in Manila could be cut in half because of heavy traffic. This means motorists and commuters will have to spend more time on the road just to get to their destinations.

Around 23 schools in Metro Manila will be affected by the road projects, the MMDA said.

To reduce the burden on students and help lessen the number of commuters on the streets, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino wants to change the 5-day school week to just 4 days.

"Lalong-lalo na yung mga schools na malapit sa construction site. Maging staggered yung pasukan, hindi sabay-sabay pumapasok, going at the same time to the same place," he said.

He plans to discuss the proposal with the Department of Education (DepEd) officials.

The MMDA earlier proposed a distance learning system for college and university students, as well as flexible working hours in companies and offices.

Parents say no to 4-day school week

However, some parents are opposed to the idea of reducing the number of school days, saying that the new schedule will affect their children's studies.

With a shorter school week, students may learn less, according to parents interviewed by ABS-CBN News. It will also be more difficult for teachers who will have less time for their classes and lectures.

Some colleges, like the Ateneo School of Government, are open to the suggestion, and would like to look at the benefits of the MMDA's proposal.

According to DepEd assistant secretary for planning Jesus Mateo, they cannot implement a new policy without consulting stakeholders.

"Kailangan pag-aralan natin iyun. Hindi tayo magpapatupad ng polisiya na hindi natin kinokonsukta ang stakeholders. Kailangan natin pag-aralan iyung context. Iba iyung sitwasyon sa rural at iba sa urban. Pwede dito sa siyudad, baka pwede iyun pero kailangan natin pag-aralan ito," he added. -- Zen Hernandez and Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News