8 January 2014
Sen. Pia: Proposal to revise school calendar needs careful study, consultations
Statement of Senator Pia S. Cayetano
Chairperson, Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture
“I am open to a discussion on the pros and cons of moving the opening of classes from June to September.
“I recall that the proposal to move the start of the school year to September was discussed at a Senate hearing during the 15th Congress. But the discussions then were focused on weather factors, since the issue of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) integration had not cropped up yet at the time.
“The situation is entirely different now that we are considering the prospect of aligning our academic calendar with those of our neighbors by 2015. As one of the region’s most dynamic economies, I agree that there are benefits that may be gained by way of opportunities to develop our human resources as universities in the ASEAN are integrated into one regional academic community.
“But the solution is not as simple as resetting the school calendar for the sake of compliance. The country’s top four universities have decided to adjust their schedules ahead, but only after conducting lengthy consultations and by ensuring that their respective academic programs, facilities and faculty are prepared for integration. As autonomous units, the four universities should be allowed to go ahead and explore opportunities under this new system.
“But how about the calendars of other colleges and universities? And our schools in the basic and secondary levels, which would inevitably be affected? This is where the consultations of the Commission oh Higher Education (CHEd) and Department of Education (DepEd) would come in. We must take the time to consider all the possible effects of revising our school calendar, carefully weighing social, cultural, economic and other factors that are unique to our country.
“We should keep in mind that our basic education system is still in the midst of transition into the K-12 program, which was introduced just this school year. Rushing any new changes would entail more adjustments and could have repercussions. But if it will benefit us in the long run and we can properly make the transition, then I will support it.” #
File photo: Sen Pia Cayetano with students of Lamut Elementary School in La Trinindad, Benguet