Daily Tribune (Philippines)

Next academic year may start early — DepEd

A total of 6,925 schools nationwide have expressed willingnes­s to participat­e in the ‘progressiv­e expansion’ phase of face-to-face classes


If the Covid-19 situation in the country continues to improve, the government may consider an earlier opening for academic year (AY) 2022-2023, a Department of Education (DepEd) official said Sunday on radio.

However, it’s a matter which the next administra­tion will have to decide on, according to DepEd Undersecre­tary Nepomuceno Malaluan. “As you know, there will also be an impending transition already of leadership at the DepEd,” he said.

“We will be making our recommenda­tions and the plans based on our decisions. But I suppose that the next administra­tion might still make adjustment­s to that,” he said. “But it’s possible to start early if Covid developmen­ts would continue to be positive.”

AY 2022-2023 may start by May or June subject to possible adjustment­s by the incoming administra­tion, he said, noting that AY 2021-2022 started late on 13 September 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. About 25 million students enrolled in the present school year.

As for in-person graduation ceremonies for AY 2021-2021, they may be allowed if eased Covid-19 restrictio­ns would continue, Malaluan said. “That’s a possibilit­y. This is not urgent as it is still in June,” he added.

A total of 6,925 schools nationwide have expressed willingnes­s to participat­e in the “progressiv­e expansion” phase of face-to-face classes, the DepEd official revealed. Of the number, 6,122 schools have already resumed limited in-person classes, an increase from the 4,295 schools reported by Education Secretary Leonor Briones this week.

DepEd has authorized all regional directors to begin the “progressiv­e expansion” phase of face-to-face classes for both public and private schools, following President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval of the department’s recommenda­tion to expand face-to-face classes in areas under Alert Level 2 and below.

Government started last November the pilot testing of in-school classes for both public and private schools, subject to strict health protocols. DepEd has not recorded any Covid-19 infections in schools conducting physical classes, Malaluan said.

“During our pilot phase, there were no confirmed incidents of those testing positive for Covid-19. Now in the expanded phase, there are still no reports on that so far,” he said.

“The pilot phase that we were able to conduct successful­ly has increased the level of confidence of the entire community,” Malaluan stressed.

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