Three reasons why DepEd retains its school calendar for 2019-2020

Three reasons why DepEd retains its school calendar for 2019-2020

Despite the recent announcement of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for all State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) and Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs) to shift their academic calendars to August for the school year 2019-2020, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said that the Department of Education (DepEd) will not change the school calendar of the basic education level.

In a phone interview with Manila Bulletin, Briones announced that the school opening for basic education level will remain on June because the schedule for the next school year has already been approved.

“We already have our school calendar as approved by the Execom [Executive Committee] and we will be releasing it by next week,” she said.

It was only last month when DepEd confirmed that the opening of classes in public schools will be on June 3.

Briones added that the student population of basic education is much bigger compared to that of the higher education, making it more difficult to make adjustments involving over 23 million students from kinder to the secondary level in public schools alone.

Factors to consider

The Education Secretary said that DepEd is hesitant to move the academic school year a few months later because of major considerations like the school facilities, the students’ health, and the lined-up activities scheduled for the summer season that might be affected by the calendar shift.

“Our learners are much younger compared to those of CHED,” said Briones. Given this, they might not be able to endure the challenges in schooling during the “summer” months, especially given the facilities in public schools. “This is not to say that we have dilapidated buildings, in fact, we have many new school buildings but these are just one-story buildings and they don’t have air conditioning (units),” she said.

The students’ health is also another factor taken into consideration because young children are more prone to diseases, especially those that emerge during the summer months like sore eyes, dengue, and measles. Briones also added that unlike college students, smaller children have less resistance to summer-borne illnesses.

“We might not be able to guarantee the overall health of these learners,” she said of the challenge for schools on how to deal with the children who are ‘at risk’ under their care.

Lastly, Briones said that changing the school calendar will “clash” with other activities that are scheduled during “summer” months or vacation period.

“Parents look forward to being with their children during the break,” she shared. Teachers, she added, also look forward to the activities during this period. “That’s the time that they are also able to relax and attend to their personal interests,” she noted.

Briones noted that the CHED announcement urging SUCs and LUCs to shift their academic calendar to August does not create a conflict with the basic education.

“Parents and students don’t see any problem with this because some of them prefer longer vacation period,” she said – adding that not all Senior High School (SHS) graduates will automatically go to SUCs or LUCs.

Story and photo from Manila Bulletin.