NO NEW academic calendar for the country’s basic education system.

The Department of Education (DepEd) wants to retain the June-March school year in elementary and high school, even as a number of universities have decided to move the opening of their academic years to July or August.

UST, the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila, and De La Salle University have opted to synchronize their academic calendars with the rest of the Southeast Asian region.

The University’s two high schools, UST High School (USTHS) and the Education High School, will still follow the traditional school calendar.

USTHS Principal Marishirl Tropicales said in an e-mail to the Varsitarian that DepEd must consider the possibility of changing the academic calendar for elementary and high school.

“Since we are a feeder school of the University, it would be better if we could have the same academic calendar as the University,” Tropicales said.

Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro said in a statement that DepEd “continues to explore” the idea of moving the opening of classes to August or September, but must first study its impact on primary and secondary education. “As of now, we don’t see any urgent need to move the opening of classes,” the La Salle brother said.

Patrick Salamat, communications unit director of DepEd, said there was no public clamor for change, and that there were more pressing problems in basic education that the government must deal with.

“Sa dinami-rami ng mga pinoproblema ngayon ng DepEd, hindi ito ang priority namin. There are a lot of more important things to do than changing the academic calendar,” Salamat said in an interview, pointing to problems like the lack of classrooms, hiring of teachers, and rehabilitation of schools in the typhoon-struck Visayas region.

READ
MMI conducts large-scale medical mission in Bicol

Unlike in autonomous universities like UST, which are free to adopt the new calendar, the situation of primary and secondary education in the country is a different story.

DepEd must follow the 1964 law authored by former Senator Maria Kalaw-Katigbak, which states that the school opening should be “anytime between June 1 to July 31,” Salamat said.

One of the major concerns of DepEd on the proposed calendar shift is the weather in April and May, the hottest months of the year. “Of the 24 million elementary and high school students, 20 million are in the public sector. And of the 46,000 public schools in the country, majority are located in the provinces, hindi ‘yan naka-aircondition,” Salamat said.

Moreover, holy days and celebrations like Holy Week, Flores de Mayo, and town fiestas during April and May will have a huge impact on school attendance, he added.

The implementation of the K to 12 does not require a change in the school calendar, Salamat also said.

But Tropicales believes a shift in academic calendar is timely given the K to 12 reforms that started in 2012. “I was a bit disappointed with the decision of DepEd to retain the traditional June-March cycle of the school calendar. Whether it’s a wise move or not, only time can tell.”

Idle time

With secondary schools sticking to the old calendar, there will be three to four months of idle time for high school graduates.

Tropicales urged graduating UST high school students to use the three-month vacation for wholesome activities.

“We all have to make adjustments. Besides, our students could use the time to engage in wholesome activities like pursuing an interest or hobby, engaging in volunteer work, or acquiring a new skill,” Tropicales said.

READ
Architecture tightens retention rule; one-third fail

LEAVE A REPLY

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.