Tell it to SunStar: Swift return to June-March calendar possible

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

By Teachers’ Dignity Coalition chairman Benjo Basas

We acknowledge the Department of Education’s (DepEd) earlier decision to gradually return to the old school calendar, but now that we have seen the effects of classes in April — extreme heat and numerous class suspensions — we believe it is now necessary to expedite the return to the June-March cycle so that we do not suffer the same consequences in 2025 as we did in 2023 and what we currently endure.

According to Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte, we cannot immediately revert to the old school calendar because we cannot compromise the end-of-school year break (vacation) of teachers and students. For us, what we need is to shorten the school calendar — the only sacrifice we need to make without compromising the school break.

The adjusted school calendar for SY 2023-2024 only consists of 179 days (Aug. 29, 2023 to May 31, 2024). In fact, the fourth quarter only began on April 1 and will end on May 31, which will be further reduced by several end-of-school year activities and the suspension of face-to-face classes. Theoretically, two full months per quarter will be possible with some adjustments to the learning competencies.

Therefore, we can expedite the return to the June–March cycle, with SY 2024–2025 serving as the transition period. It should end on April 11, 2025, earlier than DepEd’s plan of May 16, 2025. Thus, ensuring that only two weeks of April are utilized in classes, avoiding the entire month of May. By our calculations, this would be around 170 days, not far from the 179 days of this year (SY 2023–2024). And if there will be any shortfall, solutions like having 10 ASYNCHRONOUS Saturday classes (emphasizing the meaning of asynchronous to everyone) can be implemented to meet the traditional 180 days required by DepEd in the past.

For us, this is the most effective way to promptly respond to this crisis. Definitely, there is no need to compromise teachers’ and students’ vacations, and no one has to endure the intense heat in April and May. Above all, we can maximize face-to-face classes without frequent delays.

As in the past, we are more than willing to sit for a dialogue with the Vice President and Secretary Duterte and the DepEd management to discuss this proposal.

In this critical time, we need creative and decisive solutions.

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