Cebu News

Marcos okays return to old school calendar

Alexis Romero - The Freeman
Marcos okays return to old school calendar
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on May 18, 2024.
STAR/ Ryan Baldemor

CEBU, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. 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 the school year 2024-2025 would start on July 29 this year 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 Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Sara Duterte last Tuesday in Malaca ang.

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.

However, Marcos 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 set-up would require more resources and "jeopardize" their well-being, the PCO said.

Instead of ending the school year on March 31, DepEd should just adjust it to April 15, 2025 so students could complete the 182 days without having to attend Saturday classes, Marcos said.

Let us just increase the number of school days. Let us not touch the Saturdays so school day will remain the same, just the standard, the President 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 to do so.

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

However, some sectors 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 Ni o phenomenon. — /FPL (FREEMAN)

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