BRACE for a long vacation next year as classes may start not in rainy June, but in late September.

Senate Bill 565 (SB 565) by Sen. Manuel Villar proposes to move the start of classes from June to September to avert the trouble of holding classes in floods and rain during the rainy season. The bill is already filed in the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture and is supported by its chair, Sen. Juan Flavier, and by Senate President Franklin Drilon.

But even with the growing support of legislators for the bill, the University will not rush to change the school calendar.

“The University will not make preemptive plans until we have an assurance that the bill will be passed, because we experienced meeting proposals like this before that were not executed,” Dr. Armando de Jesus, vice-rector for academic affairs, told the Varsitarian.

But Villar confirmed to the Varsitarian that the start of classes will be moved from June to September next year.

“It would be too late to implement this proposed academic year now with the opening of classes already scheduled. But next academic year, the school opening wil be on September,” Villar said.

A House version of the bill, House Bill 4370, is authored by UST Fine Arts and Design alumna and Quezon City Representative Mary Ann Susano. The bill was approved in the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education headed by Las Piñas City Representative Cynthia Villar, Villar’s wife.

Villar argued that the current school calendar is often disrupted by the typhoon season, causing irregularity in class schedules.

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“Many legislators as well as school owners and even officials from the Department of Education support the proposal to change the school calendar so classes would not fall during the rainy season,” Villar said.

However, De Jesus said that changing the school calendar had been proposed before by National Artist for Literature Alejandro Roces during his term as education secretary under President Diosdado Macapagal. Roces’ proposal, however, was not enacted into law.

“This proposal had long been discussed before but it never went to the level of decision-making. It is much like the proposed bridge program. They are both cosmetic changes lacking qualitative justification,” De Jesus said. “Even if classes are moved from June to September, the country would still encounter typhoons until December, due to changing climate and weather conditions.”

But with the three-month adjustment in the opening of classes, the country can adapt to the school calendar of most countries.

“Among others, the country’s opening of classes in June doesn’t jibe with the school calendar of neighboring countries,” De Jesus said. “Having an international alignment is a far better consideration to move the start of classes from June to September than the rainy-season argument.” M. L. Celis

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