Marcos hopes old school calendar back by next year

By Darryl John Esguerra

May 6, 2024, 2:04 pm Updated on May 6, 2024, 5:46 pm

<p>President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. <em>(File Photo)</em></p>

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (File Photo)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Monday said he is hoping to have the old school calendar back by “next year.”

In an ambush interview in Pasay City, Marcos was asked about the Department of Education’s (DepEd) proposal to revert back to the June-March school calendar.

The President, citing the cancellation of classes due to extreme heat brought by El Niño, said the shift to the old school calendar was really needed.

“Of course, hiningi ko ‘yan sa DepEd (I asked DepEd for that) and I asked (Vice President and Education Secretary) Inday Sara (Duterte) to give me already a concerted plan because mukha naman hindi na tayo kailangan maghintay pa at mukha namang kailangan na (it looks like we don't have to wait anymore and it looks like it's necessary) and I don’t see any objections really from anyone especially with the El Niño,” Marcos told reporters.

“So, talagang kailangan na kailangan na (So, it's really necessary). So yes, that’s part of the plan that were trying to do, to bring it back already to the old schedule. I think it would be better for the kids,” he said.

Pressed when he intends to implement the shift, the President said: “Hopefully by next year, yes, matatapos na (this will end).”

Heeding the public’s clamor for an immediate return to the old school calendar due to extreme heat, the DepEd has suggested to Marcos to end the coming school year 2024-2025 in March 2025 and start the succeeding school year by June.

DepEd to follow PBBM’s order

In a Zoom interview, DepEd Undersecretary and Spokesperson Michael Poa said the agency is committed to follow the order of President Marcos.

“The Department of Education will implement and will abide by the decision of the President ukol dito sa reversion natin doon sa June to March o iyong original natin na school calendar (about the reversion to June to March or our original school calendar),” he said.

Among the options presented by DepEd to Marcos is an earlier ending of school year (SY) 2024-2025 on March 31, 2025, which entails a lower number of days for in-person classes equivalent to 165 days.

Poa, however, said these options were not solely driven by the effects of climate in the country.

Iyon po ang talagang naging sanhi ng mga proposal natin; one is again, ito iyong gusto ng karamihan sa ating mga kababayan. And pangalawa, syempre economic considerations po pagdating sa ating local tourist destinations (The reason behind our proposal is one, this is preferred by the majority of our people. Secondly, of course, economic considerations to our local tourist destinations),” he said.

Moving forward, Poa said learning disruptions may be prevented despite the looming La Niña through the implementation of alternative delivery modes (ADM).

Under the ADM approach, learners may continue their tasks via online classes, modules, or blended learning.

To date, local government units and school heads are implementing ADMs in areas with high heat index.

As of Monday, 7,372 out of 47,678 public schools nationwide have implemented ADM.

Meanwhile, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian thanked President Marcos for the “good news.”

The chairperson of the Senate Basic Education panel vowed to continue working with DepEd and other basic education stakeholders "to ensure the smoothest possible transition back to the old school calendar." (with reports from Stephanie Sevillano and Wilnard Bacelonia/PNA)