THE opening of classes in public elementary and high schools in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, may be moved to next month because of damages to property brought about by armed clashes between government troops and the terrorist Maute Group in the city, according to a high-ranking official of the Department of Education (DepEd).
“We [had]postponed the opening of classes in this city for two weeks but it can be extended. We’re telling them [the students]that it may be [beyond]June 19, though it is not yet final . . . [we are preparing]to transfer them [to other schools]in the meantime,” Tonisito Umali, DepEd assistant secretary for legal and legislative affairs, told this reporter in an interview on Thursday.
DepEd records showed that at least 20,000 students from Marawi City have been displaced by the conflict there that began on May 23.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones earlier ordered all regional and division offices to accommodate students from Marawi City and allow them to enroll even with incomplete requirements.
“The secretary has ordered us to look for the students affected by the cancellation of opening of classes in Marawi City, and we have identified more or less 1,391 students from this city who enrolled in various schools nationwide,” Umali said.
“We’re talking about gathering these students, convince them to enroll now and then take their modules, you know, whatever kind of studying that we could do given their situation in order not to delay too much their studies,’ he added.
Umali said classes in Marawi City will resume after clearing operations to ensure the safety of returning students and teachers.
“So it will take time to . . . and because of that we are urging parents not to wait for the opening of classes [in Marawi], and transfer them [students]to the nearest schools in the meantime while classes in this city are yet to resume,” he added.
“We want the students to understand that there’s more to life than what’s going on right now,” the DepEd official said.