Teachers demand immediate return to old school calendar amid intense heat

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This article is available in Pilipino

In recent weeks, cities and towns have one after another declared the suspension of classes due to the intense summer heat made worse by El Nino. Students and teachers are suffering from exceptional difficulty because most of the classrooms are overcrowded and do not have proper ventilation. The Department of Education today, April 12, says 7,080 out of a total of 47,678 schools nationwide have suspended classes. Most of them are in Central Luzon (1,903), Central Visayas (870) and Western Visayas (862). In NCR, 311 schools suspended classes.

Amid all this, teachers demand to immediately start the processs of reverting the schedule of classes to the old school calendar which starts in June, and not wait for a few more years. They refuted the statement of Sara Duterte, secretary of the Department of Education, that this is not feasible and that it will take a few more years before the start of classes in June and the end of the school year in March can be completely reverted to avoid holding classes in summer.

Teachers say class suspensions and alternative learning modalities should not be its go-to solution for the intolerable summer heat the country is experiencing today. They say these alternative systems have caused the current learning crisis.

“It is definitely possible to immediately revert to the pre-pandemic school calender,” the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines stated on April 10.

It says if SY 2024-2025 opens on July 29 this year, it can end on April 18 to complete 175 school days. For SY 2025-2026, classes can start on June 23, 2025 and end on March 31, 2026 to complete 188 school days. And for SY 2026-2027, classes can start on June 8, 2026, which is congruent with the old school calendar.

According to Vladimer Quetua, ACT chairperson, they were part of the consultation that resulted in the decision to gradually revert elementary and high school classes to the old school calendar. Nevertheless, the old plan must be reassessed in the face of unbearable heat and unsuitable classrooms.

“Adding to the problem is the shortage of classrooms, teachers and other support personnel that exacerbate the conditions endured by teachers and students,” according to Quetua.

The beginning of El Nino was declared last year and is estimated to last until June-August this year. Like other incompetent state agencies, DepEd did not prepare for the definite worsening of heat. It also did not make systematic and extensive adjustments to repair and increase classrooms in accordance with the problems that arose in holding summer classes last year.

AB: Teachers demand immediate return to old school calendar amid intense heat