Philippine Daily Inquirer


- By Melvin Gascon and Dempsey Reyes @Team_Inquirer

President Marcos on Wednesday vowed to find a way for the government to complete the transition to the old school calendar earlier than planned amid the intense heat now searing the country.

“We will try to do it even as we believe that we will face some difficulty, but we will try to find a way to have this transition completed earlier to put the schedule of our schoolchil­dren back to normal at the soonest time,” he said.

Classes in various parts of the country have been suspended while some have shifted to online learning instead of face-to-face over the intense heat caused by the combined effects of a strong El Niño and the onset of the summer season.

Mr. Marcos conceded that the government was caught off guard by the recent changes in temperatur­e, upsetting plans for an earlier school opening in June.

“Our main problem now is how climate change has altered the seasons, such that we did not expect that [the heat] would be like this; usually by now, temperatur­es would be starting to rise but we have been having this intense heat early on,” he said on the sidelines of the “Bagong Pilipinas” town hall meeting in San Juan.

Along with Mr. Marcos, several teachers’ groups, including the Alliance of Concerned Teachers and Teachers’ Dignity Coalition, have urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to immediatel­y shift back to the old academic calendar.

Five-year time frame

DepEd, however, rejected the idea, saying the decision to do it gradually was the result of “extensive consultati­ons” with various stakeholde­rs.

In its current plan, it laid down a five-year period for the gradual return to June-March classes, starting this school year.

“To reduce the timeline any further would have significan­t impacts not only on learning outcomes but also on the well-being of learners and teachers due to the lack of sufficient breaks,” DepEd Undersecre­tary and spokespers­on Michael Poa said in a statement he sent to the media on Wednesday afternoon.

“It is already an establishe­d policy that schools may switch to alternativ­e delivery modes (ADMs) in the event of manmade or natural disasters, including weather disturbanc­es,” he added.

Of the 47,678 public schools, a total of 5,844 have already switched to the so-called ADMs. For Poa, this means that “not all schools are similarly situated.”

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