THE Department of Education (DepEd) has postponed the opening of classes in public elementary and high schools in Marawi City to ensure the safety of students in the face of ongoing clashes between government forces and the terrorist Maute group.
“We believe that opening classes as scheduled will contribute to the normalization activities, education will not be compromised by this crisis. However, whatever, wherever they are, we will reach out to the children,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said in a statement.
Following consultations with regional directors, schools division superintendents, and DepEd Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) officials, Briones announced that opening of classes in Marawi City is postponed, for two weeks at the most.
Briones stressed that the delay in class opening is to ensure the safety of the students and not because the schools will be used as evacuation centers.
The opening of classes in eight districts from Lanao del Sur 1, nearest to the armed conflict, will also be postponed to further ensure the safety of students and teachers.
“We reviewed our decision after seeking the advice of the Chair of the National Security Council, and after receiving and studying reports from our Disaster Risk Reduction Management Service team and DepEd officials in Mindanao,” Briones said.
Schools where class opening were postponed will still observe the same last school date since these schools may have makeup classes on weekends to keep up with the national school calendar.
Briones added they have already conducted student mapping in the neighboring cities of Marawi to find those who fled to these areas after the armed conflict ensued.
“Our regional directors already have their inventory of additional learners who evacuated to Iligan and Cagayan de Oro because they know, come June 5, there will be more learners under their jurisdiction than the number originally projected,” she said.
Noting that these students do not have the necessary school records needed when transferring to another school, Briones explained that the displaced students may enroll in another school with just their Learner Reference Number.
The transfer and enrollment setup for learners from Marawi will also be in effect nationwide and not just in Mindanao schools, Briones clarified.
Meanwhile, DepEd-ARMM will mobilize teachers familiar with the language or dialect in Marawi and deploy them in areas with transferees from the conflict-torn city to address the communication barrier that learners may encounter.