September school opening pushedBy Tarra Quismundo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Amid renewed calls for the Department of Education (DepEd) to change the school schedule, a former education chief believes the government should be more decisive and finally move the start of classes to September.
Former Education Secretary Mona Valisno said government should test run the long proposed opening classes in September instead of June, saying the early months of the rainy season have proven to be more dangerous for students.
“I would like to say I am for September. In surveys that we’ve done, more parents still want to start classes in June, but logically, September is better. Why don’t we give it a chance this time?” said Valisno.
“This kind of weather, the floods, we don’t know when it comes, so it’s worth considering,” said Valisno, who was at the helm of DepEd from March 15 to June 30, 2010.
Valisno, who has worked at the education department since the ’60s, said she was involved in the group that tested a staggered shift to a September class opening during that period.
The plan was to move the school term from June through March to September through June, the same school schedule followed in the United States and other Asian countries.
But the project was shelved after students complained of the summer heat while some had to go to the provinces to help in their farms during the harvest season.
Asked why plans to change the school schedule have failed, Valisno said: “Because we are very democratic, we get the opinion of the public. But [the government] must now have a strong resolve and advance innovation.”
But the youth group Kabataan party-list said there must be a more compelling reason to move the opening of classes to September other than the bad weather.
“Strong rains, storms, and floods are also frequently occurring during September,” said the group in a statement.