A bishop in the Philippines is calling for a ban on homework on the weekends, saying children deserve more quality time with the families.

“Schools should design academic and non-academic program schedules in a way that will not affect family time, and that includes no assignments on weekends,” said Bishop Roberto Mallari of San Jose, the chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

Mallari’s comments came after several lawmakers in Asia’s most Catholic country proposed legislation banning the practice of giving homework assignments.

“Homework assignments can deprive students and parents precious quality time for rest, relaxation and interaction after school hours and even on weekends,” said lawmaker Evelina Escudero, who serves as deputy speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives.

Escudero’s bill would ban homework on all days, limiting all school activities to the campus; two other separate bills – one originating in the House, the other in the Senate – would only ban homework on the weekends.

The proposed legislation is questioned by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), which said the mandated K-12 curriculum is “impossible to cover within formal class hours.”

Mallari acknowledged CBCPNews that academic life “is necessary to propel success and a good future for young people,” but added there “are certain limits that school dynamics need to understand and widely consider.”

“Family life is sacred as it creates opportunities for children and their parents to do things together in the name of holiness, such as sharing stories, playing, celebrating occasions, and attending church, among others,” the bishop added.

“Learning is not purely academic. Value formation is a central point. And value formation happens significantly at home as the students learn and realize to be more giving, collaborative, and live a life with Jesus and Mary,” he said.

The government is tentatively supporting the legislative proposals.

“We want all formal studying, assignment, project, whatever, to be done inside the school,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said last week in a radio interview.

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