School year starts July 29; no Saturday classes

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
School year starts July 29; no Saturday classes
Students use umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun as they line up to wait for their classes outside their school 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 Marcos has approved the gradual return to the old June-to-March school calendar following concerns that the present schedule makes students and teachers vulnerable to the extreme heat of the summer months.

In a statement, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said classes for school year (SY) 2024-2025 would start on July 29 and would end on April 15, 2025.

The change in schedule will start the gradual return of the school year to June of every year until the end of March the following year.

The move to revert to the old school calendar was discussed during Marcos’ meeting with Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte last Tuesday at Malacañang.

During the sectoral meeting, Duterte presented two options for the changing of the school calendar. Under the first option, there will be 182 school days, including 15 in-person Saturday classes.

There will be no Saturday onsite classes in the second option, which will only have 167 school days.

The school year will end on March 31, 2025 in both options.

Marcos, however, pointed out that a 167-day school calendar would be “too short” as such an arrangement would significantly reduce the number of school days and contact time and could compromise learning outcomes.

The President also did not want students to go to school on Saturdays to complete the 182-day school calendar because the setup would require more resources and “jeopardize” their well-being, according to the PCO.

He said that instead of ending the school year on March 31, the Department of Education (DepEd) should just adjust it to April 15, 2025 so students could complete the 182 days without having to attend Saturday classes.

“Let us just increase the number of school days. Let us not touch the Saturdays so that school days will remain the same, just the standard,” Marcos was quoted by the PCO as saying.

Duterte said the DepEd has consulted with teachers, school officials and parents on the proposed school calendar. The change in schedule will apply to public schools, but private learning institutions may also adopt it if they wish.

The DepEd rescheduled the opening of SY 2020-2021 from June to August because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the government to impose lockdowns and to shift to online learning.

Some sectors, however, have called for a return to the June-to-March schedule, citing the health risks that teachers and learners face when they hold classes during summer months.

Last month, several schools shifted to online classes because of the extreme heat caused by the El Niño phenomenon. –  Neil Jayson Servallos

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