Freshmen students might not be required to come to school during Saturday mornings for their National Service Training Program (NSTP) classes anymore. The NSTP heads are now studying a proposal to change the time and day of the NTSP classes based on the various needs of both Reserved Officers Training Course (ROTC) and the Literacy Training Service (LTS).
Since its implementation in 2001 under Republic Act No. 9163, the NSTP classes have been held during Saturday mornings. All the branches under the NSTP namely the ROTC, LTS, and Civic Welfare Training Service (CWTS), have been holding their classes at the same time. Now there is a proposal to schedule these classes on different days and times according to their specific needs.
For the ROTC unit, the NSTP heads are considering the adverse effects of the changing climate in rescheduling the training. Holding it in the afternoon instead of in the morning would lessen fainting incidents and prevent heat stroke which is considered a medical emergency and other possible negative health effects of prolonged exposure to high temperatures among ROTC cadets.
Over the years, the ROTC has been known for its high-quality training and the discipline among its cadets. Part of that training is waking up early in the morning and staying under the heat of the sun, which is however something not all cadets can endure. According to ROTC medics, three cadets almost fainted and were allowed to sit down for a while last Saturday morning.
But holding ROTC training in the afternoon might not be the solution. During the SU-ROTC Unit Opening of Basic and Advance ROTC Courses and Regional Annual Administrative Tactical Inspection (RAATI) Awarding Ceremony last July 5, seven ROTC cadets hyperventilated and almost fainted even if it was scheduled in the afternoon.
On the other hand, the proposed change from Saturday to Monday for the LTS classes is clearly necessary. After all, LTS classes are intended “to teach literacy and numeracy skills to school children” and this cannot be done on Saturdays when public school students have no classes.
The NSTP was designed “to enhance civic administration and defense preparedness of the country”. The learning that students gain from this program would be the same even if the schedule is changed.
Change is inevitable and should be embraced by taking action to address both positive and negative effects. The NSTP coordinators should weigh carefully the advantages and disadvantages of this matter. Before any decisions are made, NSTP students should first be consulted and their opinions taken into consideration. Hopefully, the decisions will be beneficial to the majority, if not to everybody concerned.