In a recent consultation with stakeholders, the Department of Education (DepEd) discussed the possibility of reverting to the original June-March school calendar after three years of following an August-June schedule. The move follows extensive consultations with schools, teachers, parents and student leaders.
According to DepEd Assistant Secretary and deputy spokesperson Francis Cesar Bringas, the consensus was reached after addressing various factors, including legal considerations and perceptions. “We never disagreed. The question was how and when, considering so many factors (legal, perceptions, etc),” Bringas explained, emphasizing the importance of studying legal aspects such as the number of school days, vacation periods and proportional vacation pay for teachers.
The finalization process, which includes approval from Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte, is currently underway. While the return to the June-March calendar is not expected for the next school year, stakeholders are eyeing the school year 2025-2026 for its full implementation.
DepEd Undersecretary and spokesperson Michael Poa assured that the guidelines for the next school year (2024-2025) are still in the finalization stage. “Let’s wait for the final DO [Department Order], we’re still finalizing,” Poa stated, noting that an announcement will be made during the delivery of this year’s Basic Education Report.
Teachers welcomed the proposal to revert to the June-March schedule, citing concerns about extreme heat affecting both teachers and learners. The Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC) expressed gratitude to DepEd for considering the concerns and expects the new policy to be issued soon.
In a meeting with the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), a unanimous decision was reached to gradually transition back to the old academic calendar. The plan includes starting classes for the school year 2024-2025 on July 29, with the possibility of a shortened school break for the following year.
While the decision is not yet final, ACT Chairman Vladimer Quetua confirmed the unanimous agreement among stakeholders, including students, parents, teachers and school superintendents. Further consultations and a final meeting with all stakeholders are planned before releasing the policy on the gradual return to the old academic calendar.
The consultation process on the proposed shift back to the old academic calendar is ongoing, with the DepEd engaging with teachers’ associations, employees, unions and private schools. The decision to return to the June-March calendar aims to address challenges faced during the dry and warm season and is supported by various groups and lawmakers.