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Back to old school calendar

Manila Standard

Heeding public clamor, Malacañang has approved the gradual shift of the country’s school calendar to the old June-to-March schedule starting next school year.

For the 2024-2025 academic year, classes will open on July 29, 2024, and end on April 15, 2025, doing away with Saturday in-person classes.

Understandably, the Palace move has been widely praised by teachers and education stakeholders, who had complained the current calendar exposed them to extreme heat in the dry season, compounded by this year’s El Niño weather phenomenon.

The decision to return to the old school year was made to “emphasize education quality and the well-being of learners and teachers.” The policy will apply to public schools, but private schools may also choose to follow the new schedule.

President Marcos Jr. stressed the need to maintain 182 school days without using Saturdays for classes as “a commitment to improving educational outcomes and stabilizing the academic schedule.”

The Department of Education had actually presented two proposals for the shift of the school year, both of which would end on March 31, 2025: 182 school days with 15 in-person Saturday classes, or 167 school days with no in-person Saturday classes.

The agency had consulted teachers, school officials and parents about the proposed shift in the school calendar amid health issues arising from the intense heat wave.

But the Chief Executive rejected both options and decided on a middle-ground approach.

He said the 167-day calendar was “too short” and would “significantly reduce the number of school days and contact time and may compromise learning outcomes.”

On the other hand, the 182-day calendar might “jeopardize” students’ well-being and demand more resources as it meant going to school on Saturdays.

As a compromise, the DepEd was urged to adjust the school year to end on April 15, 2025, to allow students to complete 182 days without having to go to school on Saturdays.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers, one of the groups that campaigned for the return of the June school opening, described the Palace decision as “a fruit of public school teachers, students and parents’ consistent clamor…This is a positive step toward addressing the concerns of our teachers, students and parents who have long been advocating for a more humane and conducive learning environment.”

All’s well that ends well, it would appear, with school administrators, teachers, students and their parents happy with the return to the old school calendar.

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