Proposed Shift in the Academic Calendar in the Philippines: A Return to June Start Dates
The academic calendar in the Philippines has been a topic of discussion and debate in recent years, with the Proposed Shift in the Academic Calendar being a significant point of contention. The traditional start of the school year in June has been challenged, with some advocating for a shift to align with international calendars. However, a recent development may see a return to the old system. Ilocos 1st District Representative Ronald Singson has filed House Bill No. 8508, proposing that the academic calendar for basic education should revert to commencing on the first Monday of June each year.
Singson’s proposal, part of the Proposed Shift in the Academic Calendar, is rooted in the unique weather patterns of the Philippines. The country experiences a distinct summer and rainy season, which the lawmaker believes the June-start calendar accommodates best. He argues that the current academic calendar, which was altered due to unpredictable weather patterns brought about by climate change, has brought more challenges than solutions.
“Should the school calendar be reverted, students, teachers, and parents will be spared from the agonizing inconvenience and hazards of adverse weather conditions,” Singson said. His sentiments are echoed by a significant majority of teachers in the country, as reported by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT). The ACT survey revealed that students were finding it difficult to concentrate on their studies due to the intense heat of the dry season.
Senate Basic Education Committee Chairman Sherwin Gatchalian also supports the Proposed Shift in the Academic Calendar, stating that it’s time to revert the school break to April and May. This is in response to the increasing number of students suffering from heat exhaustion during the hottest months of the year.
The ACT has suggested the adoption of 185 class days annually, a move aimed at gradually bringing back the summer school break after five years. This proposal is encapsulated in HB 8508, which seeks to amend Republic Act. No. 7797, otherwise known as “An Act to Lengthen the School Calendar from Two Hundred (200) Days to Not More Than Two Hundred Twenty (220) Class Days.”
The proposed bill covers all basic education institutions in the country, including foreign and international schools. If passed, it would harmonize the opening of the academic year for all Philippine schools to the first Monday of June, reinstating a familiar rhythm to the academic calendar in the Philippines, in line with the Proposed Shift in the Academic Calendar.