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Department of Education Resists Immediate Shift to Old School Calendar

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Manila, Philippines, April 12, 2024 — Despite a week-long suspension of onsite classes due to extreme heat, the Department of Education (DepEd) stands firm on its decision not to hastily revert to the old school calendar. Vice President and DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte addressed concerns yesterday, highlighting the importance of maintaining rest days for teachers, students, and school personnel.

Duterte responded to appeals from teachers’ groups urging the abandonment of plans for an immediate transition to the old June-March school calendar. She emphasized that starting classes in June for the upcoming school year 2024-2025 is not feasible due to the need for adequate rest after the current academic year.

“The decision for a phased transition underwent consultations,” Duterte stated during a press briefing. “We cannot compromise the rest days of our teachers and learners. Everyone needs sufficient rest.”

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) had suggested adjustments to the calendar to avoid extending classes into the hottest months, April and May. They proposed compensatory measures for teachers if vacation periods were shortened to accommodate an earlier start date for classes.

Calls for the return to the old school calendar have gained momentum, with various groups and lawmakers supporting the move. They argue that the current calendar, running from August to June, is ill-suited to the country’s climate.

DepEd is already working on measures to transition back to the old calendar, but the full implementation is expected by 2026, spanning three school years. Meanwhile, the recent suspension of onsite classes in thousands of public schools nationwide due to extreme heat has affected over 3.6 million students.

In response, DepEd has instructed schools to adopt alternative delivery modes to mitigate the impact of the heat on classroom instruction. Health Secretary Ted Herbosa suggested options such as online classes or a blended form of learning to adapt to the challenging conditions.

As high temperatures persist across the country, education and health authorities are collaborating to ensure the continuity of learning while safeguarding the well-being of students and educators.


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