‘No classes in April, May more productive for education’

Neil Jayson Servallos - The Philippine Star
�No classes in April, May more productive for education�
Students line up to enter Araullo High School in Manila on January 15, 2024.
STAR / Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — Having no classes in April and May would be more productive for education, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said as it expressed concern about the impact of onsite class suspensions on effective teaching and learning.

In a statement, the ACT said that its proposal to end classes by April in the coming school year 2024-2025 would give schools 175 class days, a slight deviation from the current 179.

The group added that if the DepEd would consider proposals for the immediate shift to the pre-pandemic school calendar, it would reduce the adverse impacts on learning outcomes and the well-being of learners and teachers in holding classes amid intense heat during the hottest months of the year.

“For SY 2025-2026, we can start classes by June 23, 2025 and end classes by March 31, 2026 and we will have 188 school days. Then for SY 2026-2027, we can start the classes by June 8, 2026 which completes our reversion to the pre-pandemic calendar,” ACT chairman Vladimer Quetua said.

“We stand by our proposal for the return of the school break to April and May as such would be more productive for education. With nearly 6,000 schools nationwide that have shifted to alternative delivery modes (ADMs) within the first two weeks of April, the data raises alarm on the impact of the escalating heat across the country, affecting student focus, impeding effective teaching and learning, and posing significant health risks to teachers and learners,” Quetua added.

The ACT also urged the DepEd to revisit its current calendar shift plan – which would have classes fully transitioned to the old calendar three school years from now – and conduct a fresh round of consultations with teachers and other stakeholders now that classroom situations have changed.

The group reiterated the need for the Marcos administration to take decisive action in resolving backlogs, addressing classroom shortages and ensuring climate-resilient school infrastructure.

Last week, the DepEd said that it would seek clarifications from President Marcos regarding his pronouncements that his administration is open to immediately reverting to the old school calendar to avoid harsh classroom conditions amid extreme heat during the country’s dry season.

For the first two weeks of April, onsite classes in thousands of public schools nationwide have been suspended due to extreme heat conditions experienced by students and teachers in classrooms.

The DepEd had since instructed schools to implement ADMs should the harsh heat render classroom instruction unbearable.

While the DepEd did not address the proposals of teachers’ groups to revert to the old calendar immediately, it maintained that immediately reducing “the timeline any further would have significant impacts not only on learning outcomes, but also on the well-being of learners and teachers due to the lack of sufficient breaks.”

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