‘More visual’: Reactions to DepEd chief’s reminder to remove classroom decors

August 18, 2023 - 2:50 PM
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Classroom cleanup
School workers disinfect a classroom amid the novel coronavirus threat in the country on March 2, 2020 (The STAR/Boy Santos)

Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte reminded that schools should take down decorations on classroom walls so that students could supposedly keep their focus.

This reminder earned mixed reactions online.

The official said this after visiting the Dominga Elementary School in the Calinan District in Davao City for its “Brigada Eskwela” (Brigade School) activities on Wednesday, August 16.

“Brigada Eskwela” is an activity undertaken in public schools a week before classes in which education stakeholders contribute their time, efforts, and resources to ensure that schools are all set for the much-awaited school opening on August 29.

“Remind din natin sila na dapat ‘yung mga classrooms natin are free from clutter. So alisin ‘yung mga decoration, mga nakadikit, kung ano ‘yung mga nakasulat, lahat. Lahat ‘yon,” Duterte said before.

“Dapat malinis ang ating classrooms so that ang attention ng ating mga estudyante ay nandoon sa teacher sa harap or doon sa libro or sa ginagawa nila doon sa harap nila,” she added.

The “Brigada Eskwela” started last August 14 and will last until Saturday, August 19.

Mixed reactions

Following the education chief’s reminder, several online users voiced out their opinions.

Others agreed with Duterte, while some questioned how decorations could significantly impede children’s focus.

“Tama naman (siya). Dapat may disiplina din sa pag-aaral. Kasi ‘pag sa paligid dami abubot, ‘di (makaka-focus) ang mga bata sa pag-aaral. Opinyon ko lang naman. Agree or disagree. Pabor ako sa sinabi (niya),” a Facebook user said.

“It promotes respect for the educational process,” a user on the X (formerly Twitter) platform wrote.

“Para sa akin po, speaking as a teacher, mas mabuti na rin ‘yung tanggalin ‘yung mga decorations kasi nga ‘di naman rin ‘yan tinitingnan ng mga students and (dagdag) gastos lang din po ‘yan. May mga classrooms din kasi na florid na rin masyado,” another X user wrote.

“As a member of a class nung high school na N-time winner ng best classroom (decoration and cleanliness), this is blasphemous. JK (Joke)!” a Facebook user commented.

“So ano na kaya magiging chura (itusra) ng mga classroom? Muji-inspired, ganoon?” the user added, referencing a Japanese retailer brand known for its minimalism.

Another Filipino mentioned that younger children are primarily visual learners.

“Kinder pupils (are) more on visual po. Please try to understand,  Madam VP Sara Duterte,” the Facebook user wrote.

“If those decorations (serve) as visual aid to education, why not?” a user on the X platform commented.

“(These) are classrooms and not production (environments) like in the Factories or offices where we normally apply 5S to enhanced productivity,” another online user wrote, referring to the five-step methodology in creating a productive workplace: Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain.

“Students are still learning, (classrooms) need visual aids for the students to enhance their creativity, conceptual thinking, provide accurate images of objects (needed) for students. Learning visual aids help encourage students’ interests and give inspiration for students. Never (did) it provide distraction for me when I was a student -imho (in my honest opinion),” the X user added.

In a Facebook post by Duterte, she was seen removing some portraits of her above blackboards during a “Brigada Eskwela” activity at the Vicente Duterte Elementary School in Bansalan, Davao del Sur.

Her portraits in classrooms previously gained attention since it was not common in public schools to display pictures of the vice president, a second-in-command to the country’s chief executive.

Meanwhile, DepEd Order No. 21 (series of 2023), also known as the “2023 Brigada Eskwela Implementing Guidelines” state that school grounds, classrooms and its walls, and other school facilities should be “clean and free from unnecessary artwork, decorations, tarpaulin, and posters at all times.”

“Oversized signages with commercial advertisements, words of sponsorhips, and/or endorsements or announcements of any kind of nature shall be taken down in compliance with DO 37, s (series of) 2010 titled Prohibition on Use and/or Display of School Signages Showing Commerical Advertisements, Sponsorships, and/or Endorsements,” the order added.

“Classroom walls shall remain bare and devoid of posters, decorations, or other posted materials. Classrooms shall not be used to stockpile materials and should be clear of other unused items or items for disposal,” it further said.