DepEd offices reject calendar shift, cite need for 'family bonding'

By Jing Castañeda, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 04 2014 08:13 PM | Updated as of Mar 05 2014 04:14 AM

MANILA -- The Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday said it still does not see any compelling reason to shift the academic calendar, according to Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali.

"We cannot see yet the compelling reason to shift the academic calendar for now. Ang ASEAN calendar po, iba't iba ang pagbubukas ng basic education. Sa weather naman, tulad ng sabi ng PAGASA, kailangan pa ito ng masusi nilang pag-aaral dahil halos buong taon na ang bagyo... Mahirap ding mag-aral pag summer na sobrang init, baka mag-heat exhaustion ang mga estudyante. Based on our survey, most of our regional offices rejected the shift since summer is important for family bonding activities," Umali explained.

Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) executive director Dr. Herbert Glenn Reyes agreed with Umali, saying that instead of changing the academic calendar, they are looking into using a trimestral system.

Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Rep. Antonio Tinio therefore appealed to the proponents of the different House Bills proposing the shift, saying that given DepEd's position, this issue should finally be put to rest.

"Every year, this issue always crops up. Maybe we should already defer it and just use the time to discuss other important matters," he said.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED), for its part, said they have a different mandate compared to DepEd as they have to grapple with the desire of some universities to align their academic calendar with their ASEAN counterparts.

"Globalization is upon us and it's something we cannot ignore," said Atty. Carmelita Yadao Sison.

Sison added that they are already studying the issue in the multi-sectoral committee they have formed.

Based on the results of the study, CHED said they hope to come up with their stand in a couple of weeks.

Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) executive director Rhodora Ferrer, on the other hand, pointed out in the hearing the importance of synchronizing the academic calendars of basic education with that of the universities.

The Joint House Committee on Basic Education and Culture, and the Commission on Higher and Technical Education agreed to conduct regional consultations, and to include representatives from the Department of Health, Department of Tourism and Professional Regulation Commission in the next hearing.