Tell it to SunStar: Let’s return to old school calendar

Tell it to SunStar.
Tell it to SunStar.SunStar file photo

By Vladimer Quetua

Chairperson, Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Philippines

Following Education Secretary Sara Duterte’s statement that immediate reversion to the old school calendar is not feasible as vacation of teachers and learners will inevitably be shortened, we, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines, assert the practicability of expediting shift to June-March school calendar for school year 2024-2025 without compromising teachers’ labor rights and students’ vacation.

We also call on the Department of Education (DepEd) to address the massive shortages in classrooms, teachers, and education support personnel to create conducive working and learning conditions in schools.

It is definitely possible to immediately revert to the pre-pandemic school calendar. For school year (SY) 2024-2025, if we open classes by July 29 of this year and end classes by April 18, 2025, we will have a total of 175 school days. For SY 2025-2026, we can start classes by June 23, 2025 and end classes by March 31, 2026 and we will have 188 school days. Then for SY 2026-2027, we can start the classes by June 8, 2026 which is congruent with our old school calendar.

We were part of the consultations conducted by the DepEd early this year which resulted in the gradual revert to the old school calendar; however, it is crucial to reassess the situation especially now that the heat index across the country is expected to hit “danger” levels, according to the Pagasa. We have to admit that our school infrastructure is not climate crisis resilient, not to mention the severe shortages in classrooms, teachers, and education support personnel that exacerbate the conditions endured by teachers and students.

We also remind the DepEd that class suspensions and alternative learning modalities should not be its go-to solution for intolerable summer heat and other education problems as the same modalities largely contributed to the current learning crisis. We urge the Marcos-Duterte government to step up and significantly address the education backlogs and shortages so we can maximize face-to-face classes and provide quality education as we aim to overturn the learning crisis, especially amid the escalating climate emergency.


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