MANILA (Updated 1:50 p.m.) -- A bill seeking to move the opening of classes to September has gotten the support of the country's largest association of private schools.
Eleazardo Kasilag, president of the Federation of Associations of Private Schools and Administrators (Fapsa), urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to consider moving the regular opening of classes from June to September as proposed by Senator Franklin Drilon.
Drilon filed on Saturday Senate Bill 2407, seeking to move the opening of classes to next month, saying the June opening results to inconvenience to students, parents and even teachers.
"It has become impractical and unwise to commence the school year during the typhoon season as students, parents and school authorities have to deal with floods, landslides, diseases, lack of transportation and damaged school buildings," Drilon said in filing the bill.
A similar bill (Senate Bill 565) was filed by then Senate President Manuel Villar but failed to get the support of majority of the lawmakers.
Kasilag said the rainy season, which starts on the month of June, largely affects the number of school days. He noted that because of cancellations, as much as 25 to 30 days are subtracted from the calendar, as recorded in the previous years.
He said these cancellations would have not happened if classes start on the later part of the year.
Kasilag said the summer months have changed due to the looming climate change and it is not as hot and dry as before.
"Climate change no longer account for summer since experience, year saw several typhoons hitting the country in April and May, ostensibly summer days when weather condition is usually at its best," he said.
He also stressed that it would lessen confusion among students and parents, as well as avoid mudslinging among the DepEd, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), and local officials who pin the blame on each other when suspension of classes gone awry.
The group proposed that DepEd can try to pilot-test the new schedule in the National Capital Region (NCR), adding that they are ready to assist the education agency in the information drive once the program is implemented.
"If this is not possible in the entire country, then we can have it in the NCR only. To say, DepEd shall have difficulty to coordinate with school records then let the regional offices take care of that," Kasilag said.
Of the 1,937 private schools in the National Capital Region (NCR), some 1,600 are members of Fapsa. Nationwide, Fapsa has 9,995 private elementary and secondary schools as members.
Kasilag said if the September opening of classes is out of the question, then the DepEd can hold the opening of classes in August.
Currently, he said only the Philippines and Brunei are the countries in the Asia-Pacific region that open their regular classes in June.
Malaysia and Singapore open their classes in January, February in China, March in South Korea, April in Japan and India, May in Thailand, July in Indonesia, and September in Hong Kong.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro, in response, said they are keeping an open eye on the proposal.
He said the DepEd may even include it on the issues to be tackled by the department and other stakeholders in the curriculum review under the K+12program whose results will be released on October 5.
The K+12 program includes adding two more years to the current 10-year basic education cycle and the enhancement of the present curriculum to include more "relevant" subjects. (AH/Sunnex)