Makabayan solons file bill seeking to put back start of school calendar to June
MANILA, Philippines — Makabayan bloc lawmakers filed a bill that if enacted will put back the start of the school calendar to June.
In a statement on Monday, ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro confirmed that the Makabayan lawmakers filed House Bill No. 8550 earlier, to revert the school calendar to its original schedule before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Castro, the August to May calendar has shown several detrimental effects to students and teachers — like having to go to school despite the intense dry season heat in the months of April and May.
“The August to May school calendar has proven to be detrimental to the education sector, with students and teachers struggling with prolonged and intensified exposure to heat during the summer months. This has resulted in decreased productivity, poor student performance, and even health problems,” Castro said.
“The return to the June to March school calendar will not only improve the quality of education but will also benefit our farmers by allowing students to participate in planting and harvesting activities during the appropriate season,” she added.
Under the proposed measure, the school year 2024 to 2025 would begin on the first Monday of June, just like in the pre-pandemic scenario. In consideration of this proposal, the current school year — which would run from August to May — should not end later than the fourth week of May.
“We need to ensure that the return to the previous school calendar will be implemented in a safe and effective manner, with strict adherence to health protocols and guidelines,” she said.
“We call on our colleagues in the House of Representatives to prioritize the well-being of our teachers and students by supporting the passage of this bill. Let us work towards a better and more sustainable education system that can provide quality education to all,” she added.
During the country’s hot and dry season, there were several reports that some students either fainted or were even hospitalized due to the intense heat, with the heat index ranging reaching 40 degrees Celsius or higher in some areas.
Some schools were even forced to revert to online learning, even if the threat of COVID-19 transmissions were not imminent during that time.
The Department of Education said last April 2023 that schools can call of classes or resort to blended learning schemes due to the heat, but several lawmakers including Castro herself have urged government to reconsider reverting to the old school calendar.