education in the Philippines

‘Aggressive’ revert to old academic calendar eyed for school year 2024 to 2025

Bonz Magsambol

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‘Aggressive’ revert to old academic calendar eyed for school year 2024 to 2025

SCHOOL. Students and teachers hold regular classes at the General Roxas Elementary School in Quezon City, on February 21, 2024.

Jire Carreon/Rappler

If approved, the upcoming school year 2024 to 2025 will end in March 2025

MANILA, Philippines – Due to a “clamor” for a faster return to the old academic calendar, the Department of Education (DepEd) said on Tuesday, April 30, that it has sent a letter to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. offering a more “aggressive” ending of the upcoming school year 2024 to 2025 in March 2025.

“In response to the recent clamor for a more immediate reversion to the April-May school break, the department has already submitted a letter to the Office of the President presenting other options, including a more aggressive alternative ending school year 2024 to 2025 in March 2025,” DepEd spokesperson Francis Bringas said during the Senate inquiry into the effects of extreme heat in the conduct of classes.

“In the meantime, we respectfully appeal to the committee to allow the President time to study the options carefully,” he added.

Prior to this, the DepEd had set an initial five-year timeline to fully transition to the old academic calendar, where classes start in June and end in March.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate basic education committee, said that he prefers the “aggressive” approach. “We need to revert to the old calendar. Weather is unpredictable,” he said.

Earlier in April, Marcos said the government would find a way to have “transition completed earlier to put the schedule of our schoolchildren back to normal at the soonest time.”

What’s the catch with the “aggressive” transition?

Bringas said that students will have shorter school days. According to the Republic Act 7797, school days in the Philippines should be between 200 and 220 days.

If approved by the President, students will only have 165 in-person school days for the upcoming school year, while the remaining will be done through distance learning. Aside from this, students and teachers will have shorter school break in the middle of the transition.

“If we do it aggressively, then ma-sacrifice natin (we sacrifice) yung some hours for the learners and some hours for the teachers,” Bringas said. He refused to give more information about the plan pending approval by the President.

The school opening in the Philippines was moved to October, instead of June, in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and remote learning was implemented. In the succeeding years, it was moved to August.

The reversion to the old academic calendar was triggered by public clamor because the summer months of April and May are not conducive to learning. In recent weeks, the DepEd declared in-person class suspensions due to excessive heat. The heat index in Iba, Zambales, for instance, reached a scorching 53°C on Sunday, April 28, the highest that the country’s weather bureau has recorded so far in 2024.  –

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.