One could only wonder about the logic behind Sara Duterte-Carpio’s order to leave public school classrooms bare and remove visual aids and other decorations.

One could also wonder about the basis for Department of Education (DepEd) Order No. 21 to declutter classrooms.

Did the DepEd use specific research studies as basis to order schools to rid classrooms and corridors of unnecessary posters?

At the opening of the new school year, in all public schools nationwide, teachers began taking down the multiplication tables, the ABCs and the ABAKADAs, and pictures of heroes, animals, artworks, and other visual aids.

Classroom achievements were also banned, particularly posters announcing the top students in the class.

The Department of Education said these were unnecessary distractions that would not help in the children’s learning.

The children can supposedly focus more on their studies if there are no visual aids in the classroom.

DepEd spokesman Michael Poa said the visual aids were not totally banned from classrooms.

But the teachers can show the visual aids during classroom discussions.

These, however, should be removed when the teacher moves on to another subject, making children more focused on a topic being discussed.

Teachers were surprised and confused after the vice president issued the order to declutter classrooms. The teachers said they were not consulted before the order was issued.

Poa said Department Order No. 21 was issued during the week of the Brigada Eskwela cleanup but the teachers were not informed about it.

Poa asked the public to give the DepEd a chance to implement the vice president’s order.

Without any basis, Poa said the DepEd also does not know if the decluttering will really improve the children’s learning in the classroom.

It seems the DepEd’s Department Order No. 21 is an experiment, a trial-and-error policy based on the whims of Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Most educators, especially for children from pre-school to primary grades, believe visual aids in classrooms help in child development and learning processes.

Filipinos, especially young children, are visual learners. They are easily stimulated to learn if they see pictures and other visual aids in classrooms.

These visual aids are needed for retention in children’s learning, and posters of class achievements serve as motivation to study harder.

Some child education experts believe visual aids are necessary in classrooms but also suggest that posters and other visual aids not exceed 50 percent of the classroom walls.

It will also be difficult for children to learn fast without some visual aids, a learning requirement for teachers
in classroom management.

Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio has no background as an educator. The best thing she could do was consult with stakeholders and get experts in her department to adopt best practices in education.

But she got lawyers and non-education experts to run the department.

She also behaved like a dictator and focused on anti-insurgency policies, like hunting “reds” in schools by pushing a Reserved Officers Training Course (ROTC) in senior high school and accumulating confidential funds to spy on teachers and students, if the money really goes to intelligence gathering.

Her father’s pandemic policies had ruined the country’s educational system.

Schools were closed for two years and students had to rely on modules and online learning, depriving young children of interaction inside classrooms.

As a result, the Philippines has lagged behind other Asian countries in science, mathematics, and English language proficiency.

The Philippines had the worst score in education poverty.

Sara Duterte-Carpio has the chance to reverse and improve education. But she has been making mistakes one after another.

Instead of focusing on improving the school curriculum to bring the country at par with its neighbors, she busied herself with mundane things.

Visual aids also help in children’s value formation, which is part of the learning process.

The education department should make the children become more critical thinkers so they can discern what’s right from wrong.

Children who grow with the right values and skills will not turn into rebels, which the vice president wants to flush out.

Perhaps, the real reason why Sara does not want the clutter inside classrooms was to remove words of wisdom like “honesty is the best policy.”

She does not seem to believe in honesty as a virtue for politicians. Let’s hope she’s honest enough to tell the public where the confidential funds for the education department really go.