To arrest the deteriorating quality of education, one of the immediate tasks that need to be undertaken is to increase engaged time-on-task. The objective is to meet the required number of school days in every school year and the time allotment for the different subjects in every school day by lessening activities that take teachers and/or students away from the classroom, maximizing the use of the time allotment for every subject, and reducing the non-teaching duties of teachers.
DepEd Order No. 9, s. 2005
Schools Division Superintendents
INSTITUTING MEASURES TO INCREASE ENGAGED TIME-ON-TASK AND ENSURING COMPLIANCE THEREWITH
As a matter of policy, the prescribed 205 school days shall be strictly spent on engaged time-on-task. A school day is defined as a day devoted to instructionally relevant activities pursuant to engaging students in learning the lessons of the curriculum. Any school day or part of a school day spent otherwise is classified as a disruption. Any suspension of classes that involves instructionally relevant activities may be classified as a valid school day. However, any other suspension of classes that constitutes a disruption shall be avoided and shall be made up by another school day outside of the school calendar.
Suspension of classes for any reason shall be carefully considered, decided and authorized by the Schools Division Superintendent and school heads, while teachers are authorized to alter scheduled activities of their individual classes. The exercise of this authority, however, shall be balanced by the professional responsibility of superintendents, school heads and teachers to insure that students obtain the full benefit of the curriculum-based instruction for the prescribed number of school days contained in the school calendar.
Guided by this general objective and its implementing strategy, the following specific measures shall be adopted:
a. Classes should not be suspended even while there are school celebrations of important historical events or significant occasions. Discussions on the significance of these events or occasions, such as United Nations Day, Arbor Day, School Nutrition Month, Environment Month, AIDS Awareness Day, etc., should be integrated in related subject areas during the regular classroom discussions. Streamers should no longer be put up in schools to announce such celebrations. Simple announcements in bulletin boards would suffice.
b. Similarly, with regard to national programs which DepEd is expected to support, integration in regular classroom discussions in the relevant subjects shall serve as the mode of imparting important messages to students. The holding of contests in schools to support such programs shall be conducted outside of school hours.
c. DepED Central Office will no longer endorse competitions sponsored by certain government or non-government entities.
d. Enrichment and remediation classes and individual instruction shall be encouraged to support teaching and learning, and may be conducted during the period to be determined by the School Head.
e. In-service training programs and write shops/module-making, whether organized by the central, regional or division offices as well as the training components of foreign-assisted projects, requiring attendance of classroom teachers shall be scheduled during the five-day mid-year break and during the summer vacation. In the case of school based or school-cluster based training program, this may be held preferably on Fridays or on weekends.
f. Only schools with school papers shall be allowed to participate in local schools press conferences.
g. Schools Division Superintendents shall ensure that the five-day break at the middle of the school year, which is counted as part of the required number of school days, shall be optimally used by school heads for review and assessment of activities for the first half of the school year, planning for the second half of the school year, and conduct of in-service training programs. Every school head shall prepare an implementation plan for the five-day mid-year break which shall include the in-service training program for teachers and the assignments/projects/homework to be given to students for that period.
h. National, regional or division athletic meets or academic and non-academic competitions, including practices for said meets and competitions shall be allowed on condition that these are held after class hours and days. In determining the composition of delegations to these competitions, regional directors and schools division superintendents should only include the competitors, their coaches, and officiating personnel.
To ensure compliance with these measures to increase engaged time-on-task, the following procedures are prescribed:
a. Every school shall prepare its school calendar detailing the day-to-day activities of the prescribed number of school days to be submitted to the Schools Division Superintendent at the start of the schoolyear. Said calendar shall be prepared in consultation with the students, the PTCA and the local government unit concerned.
b. Suspension of classes for specific school(s) or school district shall be submitted by the school head or the district supervisor, as the case may be, to the Schools Division Superintendent at least one week before the planned suspension, stating the reason for the suspension of classes and the schedule for the make-up classes. Thereafter, a report on the actual conduct of make-up classes shall also be submitted.
c. At the end of the every school year, the Schools Division Superintendent shall submit a report to the regional office on the actual number of school days held in every school in the division, together with recommendations on how the policy on engaged time-on-task can be further strengthened. Such information shall be used in the performance appraisal of schools, their respective school heads, and the schools division superintendents. Regional and division office supervisors shall monitor the strict compliance of individual school with the required number of school days for each school year. Regional offices shall submit not later than two weeks after the end of the schoolyear to the central office a report on the number of actual school days in the different school divisions under their jurisdiction, together with recommendation on how the policy can be further improved.
This DepED Order supersedes DepED Orders No. 20, s. 2003; No. 11, s. 2003 and No. 20, s. 2002.
Every school head must send to the Division Office a letter acknowledging receipt of this DepED Order including the date of receipt and commiting to comply with its provisions. Schools Division Superintendent shall issue a certification that every school in his/her division has received the DepED Order, attaching therewith a list of schools and date of receipt. These certifications shall be sent to the Central Office (Attention: Undersecretary Ramon C. Bacani), copy furnished the Regional Offices, not later than March 31, 2005.
Immediate dissemination of and strict compliance with this Order is mandated.
FLORENCIO B. ABAD