April 16, 2024

■  Ofelia C. Empian 

Amid the plan to shift to the April-May break, the Department of Education announced its amended calendar ending the school year 2023-2024 on May 31.

In DepEd Order 3-2024 dated Feb. 19, the department stated the amendment “recognizes the clamor to gradually revert the school calendar to the pre-pandemic opening of classes.”

With this, the third academic quarter examination is set on March 25 and 26 while the fourth quarter exam is set on May 16 to 17.

The end of school year rites must be held from May 29 to 31 then followed by the school break on June 1 to July 26.

For the centrally managed co-curricular activities, it shall be scheduled within the school break such as the Palarong Pambansa on July 6 to 17, National Festival of Talents and the National Schools Press Conference both done on July 9 to 13, and the Learners’ Convergence on July 9 to 15.

The order stated the Brigada Eskwela shall be done on July 22 to July 27. It also stated the start of school year 2024-2025 is on July 29 and ends on May 16.

“No voluntary or mandatory tasks or activities shall be assigned to teachers from June 1 to 30,” the memo added.

The memo stated the readjustments were also based on the results of consultations with various stakeholders and the study made by the Philippine Normal University.

The PNU’s study, titled “Analysis of the Basic Education School Year Calendar of the Philippines: Inputs to Policy,” compared different basic education school calendars in Asia, and included a survey of public and private school Filipino teachers.

Last year, there were reports of students and teachers being unable to concentrate in school due to the intense heat during the summer months of April and May.

DepEd-Cordillera Director Estela Cariño said the heat is not only being felt in the lowlands but even in the Cordillera.

Cariño said there are also low-lying parts of the region such as in Ifugao, Apayao and Kalinga making schools vulnerable to the heat during these months.

“Even if we are in the highlands such as in Benguet, we have areas that are low-lying like in Nangalisan, Tuba. Also, most public schools don’t have air-conditioned classrooms unlike private schools that can afford to install it per classroom,” Cariño said.

She said students can better adjust during the rainy period of June and July.

Based on DepEd’s projection, it will take three years to adjust to the old academic school calendar where the SY 2027-2028 will open in June and end in March.