Legislators open to September opening of classes

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Monday, January 6, 2014

SEVERAL members of the House of Representatives on Monday said they will not oppose the plan of the country's top universities to move the opening of classes from June to either August or September.

The proposal to revise the school calendar, however, remains pending in the House committee on basic education and culture.

Representatives of Marikina City, an area in Metro Manila which suffers heavy flooding during the rainy months, said they are in favor of moving the opening of classes.

"I agree with their proposal in terms of the weather condition during the regular opening of classes. Classes are constantly disrupted due to typhoons mostly during June-September. It would prove advantageous for students so they could learn more without worrying for their safety during the flood season," Representative Marcelino Teodoro of the city's first congressional district said.

Representative Romero Quimbo, second district representative, added that a new academic calendar will also allow schools to be at par with other neighboring countries.

"I strongly support this step as it allows our schools and our students better opportunities and to be at par with other countries especially in light of the Asean economic integration in 2015. To not do so will leave the country again behind our Asean neighbors," he said.

The Philippines is the only member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), which starts its school calendar in June.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. earlier said that Malacañang is leaving it up to Congress to decide whether there is a need to change the opening of classes.

Several universities, including the University of the Philippines (UP), Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), De La Salle University (DLSU) and the University of Santo Tomas (UST), have expressed their intention to shift their academic calendar by 2015. These educational institutions can do so without an implementing law because they enjoy autonomous status from the Commission on Higher Education (Ched).

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., however, appealed to the top universities to make a thorough study before arriving at a final decision.

"There is no reason to object to the change. Still they need to examine the pros and cons of the change," Belmonte said.

A proposed law filed by Cavite Representative Lani Mercado-Revilla seeks to change the school calendar from June to March to September to May.

Once approved, the new calendar will cover all public and private institutions in the elementary, secondary and tertiary levels. (Sunnex)

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