Marcos approves return to old school calendar; SY 2024-2025 to end April 15

Cristina Chi - Philstar.com
Marcos approves return to old school calendar; SY 2024-2025 to end April 15
Students use a cardboard to protect themselves from the sun during a hot day in Manila on April 2, 2024. More than a hundred schools in the Philippine capital shut their classrooms on April 2, as the tropical heat hit "danger" levels, education officials said.
AFP / Jam Sta Rosa

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday approved a proposal to end School Year 2024-2025 on April 15 — a schedule that allows for basic education schools to gradually revert to the old calendar without holding Saturday classes to meet the required number of school days.

The approved proposal retains the July 29 start of classes and pushes back the end of classes about a month earlier than originally planned by the Department of Education (DepEd) as stated in Order No. 003, s. 2024.  

The Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said in a press release on Tuesday that this will start the country's gradual return to the old June-March school calendar, which students and teachers have been clamoring for after extreme temperatures driven by climate change forced thousands of schools to suspend in-person classes in April and May.

RELATED: 'So hot you can't breathe': Extreme heat hits the Philippines

Prior to this, Vice President and DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte presented the president with two proposed calendars for SY 2024-2025 after consulting teachers, school officials and parents.

The first proposal included 182 days, with 15 Saturdays requiring in-person attendance. The second option proposed a shorter 167-day school year, eliminating Saturday classes altogether. Both plans scheduled the end of classes on March 31, 2025.

According to the PCO release, Marcos expressed reservations about a 167-day school year due to its possible negative impact on student learning due to reduced classroom time.

Marcos said he also had concerns about student well-being and the additional resources required to hold Saturday classes, the PCO release said.

"As a compromise, he said instead of ending on March 31, 2025, DepEd should adjust the SY to end on April 15, 2025 to enable students to complete 182 days without using Saturdays to go to school," the PCO release said.

When Marcos first announced that he supported the return to the old academic calendar, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), the country's largest network of teacher unions, challenged the president to go beyond school calendar adjustments to ensure enough facilities and resources can accommodate students.

ACT Chairperson Vladimer Quetua said that the government's decision to return to the old calendar comes a year after they had flagged schools' overcrowded classrooms with "poor ventilation that jeopardized our health and deteriorated learning" during the dry season in 2023.

Ruby Bernardo, ACT National Capital Region, welcomed the president's announcement on Wednesday and called it a "product of the long campaign launched by teachers, parents and students through protests, dialogues and lobbying in Congress."

The ACT NCR president said that the government should continue seeking solutions to other long-standing issues plaguing the education system, such as low salaries, inadequate resources and lack of permanent appointments.

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