Moving school opening not a good idea, say officialsPhilippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The proposal to move the opening of the school year from June to September is not getting any support from either weather or education officials.
Many cyclones enter the Philippines between July and October but most of them make landfall in October and November, Dr. Flaviana Hilario, Pagasa’s acting deputy administrator for research, told a Senate committee looking into moving the school opening to September.
Hilario said starting classes in September may spare students in Metro Manila and other regions in the western side of the country from heavy rains and floods but not those in the eastern portion.
“On a month to month distribution, we can see that in the months of July, August, September and October we have the most number of tropical cyclones,” Hilario told the Senate committee on education chaired by Sen. Edgardo Angara.
“But in terms of landfalling cyclones, more cross the country during the months of October and November,” she added.
The pattern, Hilario said, was based on 62 years of data.
Angara’s committee conducted the hearing on Senate Bill Nos. 594, 2002 and 2407 on revising the school calendar after stronger than usual monsoon rains caused widespread flooding in Metro Manila and nearby provinces and the suspension of classes in many areas.
Sen. Franklin Drilon, author of Senate Bill No. 2407, has proposed that classes start in September or October, which is still within the rainy season, and go on through the summer months and end in June or July.
Currently, the school year starts in June, the onset of the rainy season, and ends in March or April, the start of summer.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro added more arguments for not moving the school calendar.
He said that based on the Department of Education’s consultations with its stakeholders, the summer vacation months of April and May were times when the Lenten holidays were observed, fiestas were celebrated and families had their reunions.
He said it would also be quite difficult to hold classes in the intense summer heat.
Commission on Higher Education Chair Patricia Licuanan agreed with Luistro.
“My opinion is that changing the school calendar is not a solution for (several) reasons,” she said in a text message to the Inquirer.
“We simply have to deal with the reality of the rainy season by improving flood control, training our students to manage in the rains and floods, and experiment with alternative learning strategies for days when classes are called off,” Licuanan said. Norman Bordadora and Dona Pazzibugan