Thursday, May 30, 2024
HomeDepEd Considers Early Return to June-March Academic Year

DepEd Considers Early Return to June-March Academic Year

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) is open to the idea of reverting to the old school calendar, shifting the academic year to run from June to March in response to concerns about extreme heat. During a Senate inquiry, DepEd Assistant Secretary Francis Bringas revealed that they have proposed ending the upcoming school year 2024-2025 in March 2025 and starting the following school year in June to address the public’s demand for an immediate change.

Acknowledging the urgency expressed by stakeholders, Bringas stated that the DepEd has already submitted a letter to President Marcos outlining alternative options. These alternatives include a more aggressive approach that would conclude the 2024-2025 school year by March 2025. However, specifics about this aggressive transition are pending Marcos’s review of the proposed options.

Under the proposed transition, schools would have 165 days of in-person classes, falling short of the 180 to 220 days mandated by law. To compensate for the reduced classroom time and ensure students’ learning progress, the DepEd may implement Alternative Delivery Mode (ADM) classes, possibly on weekends.

Bringing the school year to a close by March 2025 would also impact the traditional school break duration, potentially shortening it. The DepEd emphasized the need for discussions with teachers’ groups regarding the implications of this aggressive shift on teachers’ proportional vacation pay (PVP).

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chair of the Senate basic education committee, voiced support for the DepEd’s proactive stance, citing the necessity to revert to the previous academic calendar due to weather unpredictability and student comfort.

Advocates for the old school calendar argue that the current calendar from August to June is unsuitable for the Philippine climate, especially citing the extreme heat experienced in March and April. Lawmakers have echoed these concerns, with proposals to return to the June-March academic year gaining traction.

The Department of Health (DOH) added its perspective, recommending that schools refrain from outdoor activities during months of extreme heat, aligning with concerns about student safety.

Alongside the calendar adjustments, the DepEd unveiled measures to ease teachers’ workload, including compensating them for teaching overload beyond regular hours. This move has been welcomed by teachers’ organizations, although some aspects of the policy warrant further dialogue to ensure fairness and clarity.

As discussions continue, the education landscape in the Philippines may see significant shifts to enhance learning outcomes and prioritize the well-being of both students and educators.

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