Bacolod Solon Files Bill to Ban Classes Set to Start Earlier than 8:30 a.m.

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In filing House Bill No. 569 Monday or the proposed Adjusted Class Hours Act of 2019, Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya has filed a bill banning classes scheduled to start earlier than 8:30 a.m. in schools under the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education.

Gasataya said, “It is undeniable that schools in our country conduct classes as early as 7 o’clock in the morning and sometimes even earlier. With the new K-12 curriculum that puts more workload on students, the current state of transportation, state of mental health in the country, and the accessibility of schools, especially in rural areas, students are put at risk of fatigue and compromising their safety.”

“In order to improve academic performance by promoting student welfare and eliminating barriers, this representation proposes this bill which seeks to regulate school hours,” the Bacolod lawmaker said in filing the bill.

Gasataya, who served as vice chairperson of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education during the previous 17th Congress, said he filed the bill after a series of dialogues with students and parents within his district who cited the need to adjust the school hours.

“It is the policy of the State to adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development in schools. We must give priority to the physical, mental, and social well-being of students, among others, through a system of education which gives primordial interest and concern to the health and safety of students,” he said.

“The right of students to proper care and special protection from regulations and conditions prejudicial to their health and safety must always be defended,” he stressed.

The second-termer lawmaker cited that some studies abroad have correlated that later school start times to improved student performances and achievement.

“This could also help parents who wake up earlier than supposed to attend to their children’s needs be more productive at work, raise teacher quality, and help working students manage their time,” he said.

Also among Gasataya’s pet bills are House Bill No. 568, which aim to provide a comprehensive scholarship for persons with disabilities and their children, and House Bill No. 573, which seeks to recruit, hire, and train additional mental health personnel in state universities and colleges.

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