Teachers Thank DepEd for Returning to Old School Calendar
In a significant development, the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) has expressed gratitude to the Department of Education (DepEd) for heeding their call to revert to the pre-pandemic school calendar system. This means that the school year will now commence in June and conclude in March the following year. DepEd officials confirmed this decision during a consultation held at the DepEd Central Office in Pasig City.
According to the new plan, the current school year will end on May 31, 2024, instead of the previously scheduled date of June 14, as stated in DepEd Order No. 22, 2023. Additionally, the start of the school year for 2024-2025 is now scheduled for July 29 of this year. The school calendar will fully revert to the June-March cycle by the school year 2025-2026.
The TDC played a pivotal role in advocating for this change, citing concerns about extreme heat that teachers and students had to endure in the previous year, leading to health issues such as illness and fainting among them. Last year, the TDC submitted two separate letters to Vice President and DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte, proposing the change and requesting a discussion on the matter.
Benjo Basas, the Chairperson of TDC, who was present during the meeting with DepEd officials, stated, “Ito naman ang kagandahan sa maayos na pag-uusap, tiyak na may maaabot na kasunduan para sa kapakanan ng mga guro at mga bata,” highlighting the positive outcomes of constructive dialogue. Basas emphasized the need for a policy amendment to DepEd Order to implement these changes and expressed his gratitude to DepEd for listening to their concerns. He also expressed hope that the policy changes will be released promptly.
In addition to the school calendar adjustment, the TDC has put forth several other demands. These include granting teachers service credits or overtime payment for extra work, health breaks every quarter, a clear policy on catch-up Fridays, and assurance of a 60-day annual school break, in line with existing policies.
DepEd officials, including Undersecretaries Gina Gonong for curriculum, Wilfredo Cabral for human resources, and Atty. Micheal Poa, the chief of staff, were present during the consultation. During a hearing of the House Committee on Basic Education on January 15, Basas raised these issues, and Poa revealed that DepEd has already prepared a plan and will consult with stakeholders to address these concerns.
In conclusion, the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition welcomes the DepEd’s decision to return to the old school calendar, which will alleviate the challenges faced by teachers and students due to extreme heat. The TDC continues to advocate for improvements in the education system to ensure the well-being of educators and learners across the country.