The excessive workload of students especially those under the K-12 curriculum prompted lone district representative Cong. Greg Gasataya to file House Bill 569, an act that seeks to ban classes earlier than 8:30 in the morning.
Gasataya addressed the issue during the forum on mental health organized by Digital News Exchange today, at the University of St. La Salle.
Gasataya said his bill has been met by a lot of backlash over the internet, especially from netizens who feel that the bill would coddle young people and would make them more prone to laziness, instead of teaching them responsibility.
But, he said, he used to think the same way as the critics until he got a chance to talk to members of the Youth for Mental Health Coalition – Bacolod chapter, who opened his eyes to fact that the students under K-12 have to contend with performance tasks from as many as eight subjects each requiring separate performance tasks every grading period.
The accomplishments of these tasks would often lead them to stay at school longer than usual.
In certain cases, students have to deal with 36 performance tasks just to pass a subject.
I used to think that your condition was better than hours, but I realized now that that is not the case, the congressman said.
The reality that students faced “opened my mind not as a legislator but as a parent”, Gasataya said, as he himself has children who are undergoing the same thing.
“Honestly, before as a parent I kept on comparing my situation to my children. I used to tell my children how privileged they are because all that they have to think about was school, sports, and Netflix,” Gasataya said.
He said he used to think that his own generation had to work harder than the present one, because research work then meant going to an actual library and pore through books and encyclopedia.
“But,” the solon said, “things are different then as now, so there is no point in comparing your present situation to my time.”
The congressman was one of the invited speakers to the mental health forum along with registered Y4MH-Bacolod representative Jean Paul Amit, and psychologist Abigaile Capay, who talked about social media and mental health awareness.