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Teachers’ Group Recommends Shorter School Hours

Teachers’ Group Recommends Shorter School Hours

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) has expressed support for the idea of returning to the previous academic calendar, which aligns school breaks with the hottest months of the year. The coalition acknowledges, however, that there are unresolved issues that must be addressed.

TDC National Chairperson Benjo Basas stressed the importance of confronting the problem of excessive heat in schools, rather than avoiding it. He reminded that before the pandemic, there were ongoing proposals to shift the start of the school year to August or September to avoid weather-related disruptions during the rainy months of June and July.

Basas noted that transitioning back to the old academic calendar would require significant adjustments that could take years to accomplish. He suggested adopting a more strategic approach, such as reducing class sizes to no more than 25 students, constructing resilient classrooms with better ventilation, and providing electric fans or air-conditioning systems. Implementing these changes would require additional funding and policy support.

Classroom temperatures are affected not only by hot weather, but also by overcrowding, poor ventilation, and insufficient electric fans, Basas pointed out. He urged that solutions should directly address these issues.

The TDC also proposed reducing instructional hours. Basas suggested that the Department of Education (DepEd) could shorten class times to 6-10 a.m. and 2-6 p.m., allowing students and teachers to avoid the most intense heat between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The coalition added that shortened instructional hours have been practiced within the DepEd system before, and with the advent of distance learning, any lost time could be compensated through guided online or modular learning.

Basas stressed the need to keep regular communication between students and teachers during the week.

Additionally, the TDC underscored that public school teachers have a two-month break entitlement, which might be jeopardized if the DepEd reverts to the previous academic calendar without thorough evaluation.

Basas urged for the consideration of teachers’ well-being in all decisions concerning the academic calendar.