Chiz presses shift to coherent academic calendar in all schools

May 23, 2017 - 7:53 PM
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Senator F Escudero
Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero

MANILA – Sen. Chiz Escudero is pushing to synchronize the academic calendar in all schools in the country starting with school year 2018-2019.

“Our engagement with the world’s top universities will be greatly facilitated with the alignment of our academic calendar with the rest of the world,” Escudero explained.

Senate Bill. No. 1432, authored by Escudero, seeks to synchronize the opening of classes in all schools, both public and private, in the Philippines. Thus, the school year shall start on the second Monday of August but not later than the second Monday of September.

Escudero, chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, said the country’s current education system must adopt far-reaching reforms, such as the revision of its academic calendar, in order to ensure the development of the people’s knowledge and skills.

“We are on the right course when we recognize the fundamental role education plays in our national development. However, bold initiatives must be undertaken in our education system if we are to compete and thrive with the countries all around the globe,” Escudero said.

The majority of the world’s top institutions, according to the senator, start their academic calendar in August or September.

“In the rankings of the educational institutions of the world, our top universities always lag behind our ASEAN counterparts. We, therefore, need to engage with the top educational institutions of the world in order to benefit from their experience and expertise and hopefully raise the standards of our education,” Escudero said.

The synchronization of the academic calendar of all the schools in the Philippines will help align the conduct of research between local and international universities. It will also help increase student participation in exchange programs, which will be beneficial to our local education system, according to Escudero.

“This will also help us avoid the dire economic consequences among sectors or industries which benefit from common break schedule of students, most especially those families engaged in agriculture who need as many helping hands as possible,” he said.

Escudero said the opening of classes in August or September will give the students from families in agricultural communities more time to help in farming activities.

The Philippines’ two climate seasons, mostly dry from November to April, and wet during the rest of the year, are highly considered in the agricultural sector, according to the Department of Agriculture. Planting of rice, the country’s main agricultural crop, is usually done from June to September.

Escudero said the bill also intends to ease the burden of parents who deal with multiple school calendars, which are likely to disrupt precious work and family time and activities.

According to data from the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges for school year 2016-2017, 69 State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) start their classes in June, while 34 SUCs, including the premier state University of the Philippines, already open the school year in August.

On the other hand, the Department of Education already announced that for school year 2017-2018, classes in all public elementary and high schools will officially start on June 5.

Private schools, however, may deviate from this schedule but must start their classes not later than the last day of August.