Why not go back to old school calendar 

By Rose de la Cruz

At the rate 7,000 public schools remain on alternative delivery mode (ADM) of learning because of the scorching heat from El Nino, it would be wise to revert to the old school calendar for the good of the students, as President Marcos declared on Monday.

The President does not share the idea of DepEd taking three or more years to revert to the old school calendar for as long as the climate is not projected to improve, but worsen over the years. So, the President asked Vice President and DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte to make the change sooner than later.

The DepEd said it wrote to the President regarding the DepEd’s proposal to revert to the June to March school year and its commitment to abide by the President’s order, explained DepEd Assistant Secretary Francis Bringas to reporters.

Bringas was referring to the proposal they sent to Marcos last month to end SY 2024-2025 in March 2025 and start the succeeding school year by June of the same year. The DepEd could not yet disclose specifics of the aggressive transition as Marcos still needs time to study the options that they had presented to him, the Philippine Star reported.

The DepEd’s Bureau of Learning Delivery, which plotted the new option, said schools would have only 165 days of in-person classes – falling short of the 180 to 220 days prescribed by law.

To cover for the shortfall in the number of school days, the DepEd may have to opt for alternative delivery mode classes on weekends.

Another option is for students to have a shorter end-of-school (summer) break as the school year would end by March 31, 2025 and start in June 2025.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) welcomed the President’s order reverting to the old school calendar but challenged him to take decisive action on issues in the education sector and confronting the climate crisis as part of more substantive “measures beyond a mere calendar adjustment.”

“Addressing the dire learning environment should not end in an administrative act of changing the school calendar, but should continue with more substantive steps of hiring more teachers and building more classrooms to reduce the class size and ensuring proper ventilation in all learning spaces,” ACT chairman Vladimer Quetua said.

“More strategically, the government must comprehensively address the worsening climate crisis, largely brought about by corporate destruction of the environment, that adversely affects not only the education sector but the whole socio-economic life of our people,” Quetua added.

Lawmakers have been filing proposals to shift to the old calendar, stressing that the current school calendar that runs from August to June is inappropriate in the country.

Previously, the DepEd through DO Number 3, series 2024 last Feb. 19, adjusted the end of the current school year from June 15 to May 31, 2024 and reset the opening and closing dates for SY 2024-2025 as July 29, 2024 and May 16, 2025, respectively.

Over 7,000 public schools have suspended onsite classes since April or what is called alternative delivery mode of learning because of extreme heat.

The President said the frequent cancellation of face-to-face (F2F) classes in various parts of the country due to El Nino prompted the necessity to revert to the old school calendar.

The school opening in the country was moved to October in 2020 because of the pandemic and the ADM was implemented. It was moved to August in the succeeding years.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said he would continue working with DepEd and other stakeholders to ensure the smoothest possible transition to the old school calendar, the Star reported.

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