imyeyes-banner-sqIn My EyesBy Edward B. Antonio

What, no more ECA points?

One of the more pressing concerns of teachers nowadays is a midnight DepEd Order of former DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro outlining the guidelines in the ranking of students starting SY 2016-2017, fellas.

The guidelines are contained in DepEd Order No. 36, s. 2016 which says that honors are only to be determined through the academic grades earned by a student or pupil.

Academic excellence is sometimes referred to as ACA and Extra Curricular Activities as ECA.

Previously, the grades of children are computed as ACA, 70% and ECA, 30%. ACA refers to the child’s grades in all his academic subjects from 1st to 4th Grading Period. The grades per grading period are averaged and you get the ACA grade. Then, a form is filled up with all the child’s extracurricular achievements like achievements in competitions (academic or sports), journalism, student governance and leadership, seminars and trainings, and the like. Achievements are given points depending on the level: district, divisional, regional or national level. The higher the level, the higher the points. Then the children are ranked. This is the ECA which is 30%.

In this grading system, the DepEd sees to it that the kid is developed mentally and physically. It encourages the child to bring out his talents through the different competitions inside or outside the school.

But in DepEd No. 36, there is a big tendency that parents will no longer send their children to join these extracurricular activities.

Nicole, a ranking student and a national player in the last Palarong Pambansa said she still wants to try her luck in the provincial and regional sports levels but “it depends upon her parents.”

“Last year, we had a hard time adjusting my schedules, it’s good my teachers understood my situation. But this time it’s different. I am not sure if I will still join my former teammates,” she said.

Nicole was 6th honors in her classroom last school year and she intends to improve her ranking this school year.

Well, that’s only the case of Nicole, fellas.

There are many students who are affected like the student-contestants in Math Olympiads, English festivals, Araling Panlipunan Festival of Talents, campus journalism press conferences, Science festivals, computer skill competitions, TLE contests and others. The competitions in these areas are in the form of oration, declamation, writing, poster making, poem delivery, storytelling etc. Trainings in these competitions require a lot of time and hence, the trainees sometimes miss their classes.

When the contestant reaches regional or national level, there are more training days to consume. Both trainee and trainer miss their class. And this is the scenario that parents do not like. It might imperil the honor rank of their children since there are no more ECA points which account for 30% of the total grade.

And how should teachers encourage these talented students to still join contests?

This is now the big side effect, fellas.

School authorities said there will be a recognition program to honor these ECA achievers. There will be awarding and re-awarding of medals and certificates. There will be citations and trophies to be awarded in school.

But a teacher-parent said it doesn’t matter.

“Why should I still send my child to those competitions if her academic grades will be adversely affected?” he said.

And so what is the solution?

Return to the basic where the computation is 70% ACA and 30% ECA so that every effort of the child is compensated.

But the problem is the order is already handed down to the division and school levels. A DepEd Order is a law by nature and unless it’s rescinded or revised by the issuing officer (the DepEd Secretary), the order must be enforced.

And so, in one of the meetings between some teachers with their division supervisor to discuss some matters, the issue was brought out.

The supervisor did not have any concrete solution to offer.

He only said that he, too, is in a limbo on how to solve the problem created by DepEd Order No. 36.

He said all he could do is to bring the matter to his superintendent who might also bring the matter to the regional director and from there, to the DepEd Secretary.

“Anyway, we have a new DepEd Secretary in Secretary Leonor Briones,” he said.

Will bringing the problem to the secretary solve the problem?

Perhaps yes.

If the problem emanated from that office, only that office can issue the solution.

I don’t know why former Secretary Luistro issued DepEd Order No. 36, fellas.

And it was issued shortly before he stepped down from office.

Maybe he had good reasons.

Maybe his staff members had good reasons, too.

Maybe if these good reasons are explained to the teachers well, they can explain them too, to the students and their parents.

There are lots of maybes, fellas, lots of questions that need lots of acceptable answers.

As for me, I don’t know the answers.

Mang Maing says he doesn’t know, too.

Perhaps somebody way up there can provide.#