DepEd confirms ‘gradual’ return to old school sked | Inquirer News

DepEd confirms ‘gradual’ return to old school sked

/ 05:00 AM January 30, 2024

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MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) confirmed on Monday that it was in the process of amending an old department order in preparation for “gradually reverting” the start of the school year to June following mounting complaints about the difficulty of holding classes during the summer months of April and May.

During a hearing of the House committee on basic education and culture, DepEd Director IV Leila Areola said they had already drafted an amendment to Department Order No. 22 Series of 2023 to allow schools nationwide to ease back into the old June to March academic calendar, possibly by School Year (SY) 2025 to 2026.


“I say gradually revert to June, because if we’re going to do it now, then the number of school days is going to be affected,” Areola told committee chair Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo. “However, our Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte would still wish to consult with field offices, including regional directors.”


While they have already started consultations with other stakeholders, Areola said they would also like to hear from school division offices.

Summer heat

Lawmakers led by the Makabayan bloc earlier filed several bills seeking to revert the school calendar to the prepandemic schedule of June to March with students going on break between April and May. This was after numerous teachers and students complained about how the heat in classrooms was making it hard for them to concentrate.

The bills initially pushed for the return to the old academic calendar starting SY 2023 to 2024 but Areola said this was not doable.

“But we already have the working document and until 2029, we already know what’s going to happen … for sure we’re going to revert to June,” she added.

Asked by Romulo for a possible timetable, the DepEd official replied that a return to the old academic calendar might be possible by SY 2025-2026 “but we’re still studying [this] because there are groups that are also affected should we abruptly return to June, like the vacation days of our teachers.”


“So we really need to have consultations to find out whether our teachers are very much willing to have their vacation days reduced for us to be able to get back immediately to June,” Areola said.

Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) chair Vladimer Quetua, who was also at the hearing, said that during the initial consultation between the DepEd and parents earlier this month, they agreed that classes for the current school year would end on May 31 while the next school year would begin on July 29. For SY 2025 to 2026, classes could begin in the third week of June. The opening of classes in the first week of June could be done by June 2026, he added.

But for now, the sore point is what would happen to teachers’ 60 vacation days every year during the gradual return to the old school calendar.

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Service credits

Under the current system, teachers have to earn service credits, earned only by coming in on weekends, to be able to go on leave. However, they are allowed only a maximum of 15 service credits every year, Quetua pointed out.

He proposed that the DepEd amend the system to allow teachers service credits of 30 to 45 days in lieu of the vacation days they would be losing during the calendar shift. However, Romulo asked what that would mean for the country’s 28 million students “if we allow teachers to take leaves for 45 days.”

“Of course that’s good for teachers, but what about the welfare of students if they don’t have teachers?” he said. “That’s a huge number. I am not trying to pit these two concerns against each other, but my question is what happens after that?”


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