Decision to move school break must be 'data-based,' lawmaker says

Raffy Cabristante, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 25 2023 03:16 PM

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MANILA — Changes to the academic calendar, including a proposed return of the "summer break" to March, should be based on data and expert opinions rather than "knee-jerk reactions," a lawmaker said Tuesday. 

Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo told ANC that whatever decision the government makes on the current school calendar must be based on what's "best for the health and the continuity of the learning of our students."

"We've suffered so much... I think now we've got the momentum but of course we have to take into consideration the health of the students," Romulo said.

"Let's look at the data, let's ask the experts, and let's decide based on that," he added.

The lawmaker said the government should also take into account survey results and views of students and teachers before taking any action.

A recent survey by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) showed 82 percent of their student-respondents had "temperature-sensitive ailments." The group earlier called for the return of blended learning following complaints from some teachers and students due to the hot weather.

If the summer break is brought back to March, Romulo said there "has to be some adjustments."

"It cannot be suddenly just imposed, there must be some adjustment," he said. 

"I think we should not just shift because we want to shift. It must be well-studied, it must be laid down to the Filipino people," Romulo added.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. earlier said his administration was studying the possibility of reverting the summer break back to April and May.

Marcos Jr., however, said that pandemic and climate factors have to be taken into account before making a decision..

"Since hindi na tayo naka-lockdown, ibalik na natin siguro dati but kung kailan kasi ang gagawin ang actual na semester, kailan mag-uumpisa ang bakasyon ay hindi pa nade-decide dahil mayroon pa rin tayong mga cases na nakikita natin na [yung] COVID umaakyat naman 'yung replication rate, umaakyat naman," Marcos said.

(Since we are no longer on lockdown, perhaps we should bring back the old schedule, but we have yet to decide on the start of the actual semester and the vacation because we are still seeing an increase in COVID cases.)

Before 2020, the summer break in Philippine schools came in time for the dry months of March, April, and May.

But the break had been moved to June and July as the beginning of classes was shifted to August due to the COVID-19 pandemic.