luistro & licuanan, no to september, hurray!

07 January 2014

ever since i can remember, there has been this proposal to start the schoolyear in september rather than in june because daw by september the rainy season (july to october) would be almost over and fewer schooldays would be lost due to rains and floods.  but always, ALWAYS, such a proposal would be widely thumbed down because it would mean that the hot hot hot summer months, april and may, would see the students and teachers suffering the heat in crowded and poorly ventilated classrooms, not to speak of the matrapik trip to and from school under the hot sun, out in the streets where everything is hot, the cars and tricycles and buses, the pavements and sidewalks, everything gets so hot, “you could fry an egg on the sidewalk” i’ve heard it said, and it’s easy to believe.  in recent years, the department of health and pagasa have even taken to issuing health advisories, stay indoors, keep cool, drink lots of water, or risk suffering heatstroke and dehydration.

well, this time, last july to be exact, it was no less than senator drilon who renewed the call for a september-june cycle due to the bad weather then prevailing, heavy rains and widespread flooding, and, oh, how he worries for his granchildren, he said.  but what about the summer heat, mr. senator?  ok lang, may aircon naman ang mga kotse ng mga apo ninyo?  at malamang merong electric fans galore, if not aircons, ang well-ventilated classrooms ng sosyal private schools they go to?  pero paano na ang nakararami in the public schools?  sorry na lang sila?

salamat na lang at pumalag si deped sec armin luistro: elementary and high school schedules are keeping to the june-to-march cycle, his paramount concern being the effects of intense summer heat on the health and studies of our young.  here’s hoping he doesn’t change his tune.

even if we were to factor in climate change, granting, for the sake of argument, a “new normal” in rains a la ondoy and supertyphoons a la yolanda (by the way, ondoy came in october, yolanda in november), it’s not as if the summer months aren’t getting hotter and hotter too, and summers are sooooo long, with rarely any reprieve, unlike the wet season’s rains and floods that come and go.  so what if classes have to be suspended, there are ways and ways of making up for that kind of lost time.  besides, it seems to me that there’s more that we can do about the heavier rains and widespread flooding, such as reforestation, clearing our waterways, zero waste management, and the like, samantalang the summer heat we can only beat by doing nothing, or as little as possible, unless happily ensconced in air-conditioned homes and offices.

as for the big universities, UP, UST., ateneo, la salle, that seem to be quite eager to shift to the september-to-june cycle and be in synch with the rest of asean when the ASEAN economic community (AEC) kicks off next year, the better obviously to accommodate foreign students and academics, i share CHED’s misgiving that it would lamentably render these universities out of synch with the rest of the country.  says CHED head patricia licuanan:

“… it is also important to think of what will happen in relation to Filipino students because the basic education will not change. What do you do with these students coming into college—they graduate in March and they will wait until August to enter college?”

“Some compromise might be necessary. One of these might be a quarterly system or a tri-semester to provide more entry points for foreign students coming in and ours going out,” she said.

“This is not for everybody. Schools should assess if they have enough cross border activity to make it worth it to change their academic calendar. What percent of the school population are we talking about?

“Perhaps they should crunch their numbers first,” Licuanan said, adding that flooding and storms will still be a problem in August and September.

She also said CHED is worried about the repercussions of revising the academic cycle, particularly on entrance and licensure exams.

here’s hoping that licuanan doesn’t change her mind either.  i think she and luistro are on the right track, setting the right tone, taking the appropriate attitude toward asean integration: we can be part of the ASEAN economic community without forcing synchronization where it is not advisable because disruptive of, rather than conducive to, the good of the whole.

Posted in education

14 Responses to luistro & licuanan, no to september, hurray!

  1. January 8, 2014 at 3:49 am
    GabbyD

    so, we all live in ASEAN, the weather is similar for all countries right? average temp seems to be 27 to 28 degrees.

    so if they can do September openings, why cant we?

    • January 8, 2014 at 12:15 pm
      manuel buencamino

      good question, GabbyD

    • January 8, 2014 at 2:23 pm
      baycas

      Are the rest of Asean countries doing it in September?

      • January 8, 2014 at 10:29 pm
        baycas

        Sa tertiary pala iba-iba ang academic term (calendar).

  2. January 8, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    27 to 28 degrees? i don’t know about the rest of ASEAN, but our recent summers umaakyat ng mid-30s and temperatura.

    • January 8, 2014 at 2:39 pm
      manuel buencamino

      Kuala Lumpur and Singapore mid 30s ang temperatura, closer to the equator kasi, at hayop ang monsoon season nila

      • January 8, 2014 at 3:41 pm

        hmm. i can only suppose their infrastructures meet requirements, unlike ours

        • January 8, 2014 at 10:32 pm
          manuel buencamino

          KL floods a lot

  3. January 12, 2014 at 9:45 pm
    baycas
    • January 13, 2014 at 4:38 am
      GabbyD

      http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/579945-thai-universities-agree-to-start-academic-year-later-from-2014/

      this change in sched seems to be a university thing throughout SEA. i dont think it matters if the university changes its sched, but younger kids dont have to do it.

      • January 13, 2014 at 8:59 am
        baycas

        I was enlightened this weekend having heard same topic discussed on radio. The debate lies on the universities (tertiary level) not on DepEd’s turf.

        The fact that trimester (or quarterly, at the other extreme) is a welcome change rather than two semesters per academic year. Faculty members and students may easily ‘insert’ themselves ‘semestrally’ to a curriculum as long as the schedule (academic term or academic calendar) fits.

        As far as some in UP are concerned, the proposed first trimester will be late August (or early September) to early December and the consecutive 2nd and 3rd trimesters will be in January to May.

  4. January 19, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    ‘school calendars in the Asean region are already varied, with only “two to three” countries starting their basic education classes in August or September.’ DepEd exec cool to planned shift of school opening
    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/565899/deped-exec-cool-to-planned-shift-of-school-opening

    • January 22, 2014 at 9:24 pm
      Batang-genyo-Alah Eh

      I agree that synchronization of school calendar is not necessary since we are educating Filipinos for Philippine environment. What I believe is more primordial is to improve the quality/level of educational standards. Hence, DepEd implementation of the K-12 is a step in the right direction and a policy consistent with improving the academic qualification and orientation of our students at par with international universities. Which is why even our top colleges like UP, Ateneo, DLSU never reach the top nitch among world class institution.

  5. February 15, 2014 at 2:11 am

    “Does the academic calendar matter?” by Solita Monsod http://opinion.inquirer.net/71582/does-the-academic-calendar-matter

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