August 10, 2012
Drilon asks DepEd to consider changing school year
Alarmed over the numerous class suspensions recently, Senator Franklin M. Drilon today asked the Department of Education (DepEd) to seriously mull over changing the school calendar to avert class disruptions brought about by heavy typhoons and rains.
"I am suggesting to Education Secretary Armin Luistro that a decision be made because, in my view, all indications would lead to the need to revise our school year for the benefit of everyone," said Drilon.
Classes in most part of Luzon, particularly in the National Capital Region and Central Luzon, have been suspended since Tuesday because of torrential rains that submerged the regions into flood, noted Drilon.
Aside from expressing concerns about the safety of the schoolchildren and youth who choose to attend classes despite heavy typhoons and rains, Drilon was also alarmed over the downside effect on the students of the frequent suspensions of classes', for "their being absent in school means less absorption and less time to learn."
"We are working on the improvement of our education system to create a competent human resource for our future. We have this new K+12 system in place, so that students will have more years to study and prepare themselves to work.
"However, these suspensions of classes, if not addressed decisively, will affect the quality of graduates we intend to produce, because their time to acquire new knowledge is being affected by these suspensions which are due to typhoons and rains," said Drilon.
Citing from news reports, he said about 168 schools in flood-affected areas in Luzon were converted into evacuation centers to accommodate more than 14,000 families affected by continuous rains.
"That scenario is alarming, and what is more disturbing is the fact that it is just two months ago since the new school year opened and yet, we are already experiencing a number of class suspensions that could affect the mandated 40 and 36 weeks of classes for elementary and secondary education and college level, respectively ," he added.
"If the school calendar is revised, our schoolchildren will be less exposed to the very adverse weather conditions," stressed Drilon.
Drilon said he has already filed a bill in the Senate that moves the opening of classes from June to September to prevent class disruptions as a result of the rainy season which takes effect starting June, also the month that marks a fresh school year.
He urged the DepEd to make a study as to the viability of the month of September for the opening of classes. But, he added, the agency may opt other month aside from what he is proposing so long as it will address the problem.
However, Drilon noted that the months of June, July and August are peak months for devastating typhoons in the country. Thus, he expects that school suspensions will be more prevalent in the coming months.
Senate Bill No. 2407 seeks to amend Section 24, Chapter 9, Title VI, Book IV of Executive Order No. 292 or the Administrative Code, which reads: "Section 24. School Year.--(1) The school year for public and private schools shall consist of not less than forty (40) weeks for the elementary and secondary levels, and thirty-six (36) weeks for the college level or eighteen (18) weeks a semester.
2) The opening date shall be fixed by the Secretary, but it shall not be earlier than the first day of June nor later than the last day of July of each year unless prevented by fortuitous events.
Drilon said if his proposal is passed, students and parents will be spared from the inconvenience and hazards of numerous typhoons entering the Philippines.
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