#MondayThoughts No. 3: On School Calendars

Today is the first day of schools across the Philippine. Of course, we all expect the news items on traffic, price watch on school supplies, separation anxiety of kids, crowded classrooms and bizarre human interest stories of people who are devious of the normal school age, eager to finish their studies to succeed in life.

If you’re studying in private school, you don’t need to follow the date as long as it must not be beyond August.

The nation’s school calendar is dictated by the climate of our country. As we were taught in school, the country is divided into four types of climate. The Type I climate — where there are two pronounced seasons: dry from November to April, wet during the rest of the year — became the basis of the academic year.

In light of that, one of the conversations in social media brewed out: “They continued to ignore the new school calendar that some private schools and colleges have already adapted.”

A lot of you have known that it’s been a long time to debate about shifting the school calendar to August due to the unfavorable weather that can disrupt classes.

But then, it got me thinking over the school calendar.

It reminded me back in 2013 when my dad gave me a planner from Festo. The information at the information of that planner is printed in German.  In the front, it detailed about the school vacation dates in states of Germany and Austria, in addition to their holidays (at the back).

There are two problems with the calendar imposed by DepEd:

  • After the 1st quarter exam in August, it automatically starts a new quarter (no rest).
  • The third quarter ends on the second week of January after students go on Christmas vacation.

This is not what happened to our Southeast Asian neighbors. Malaysia and Singapore’s school year is based on the calendar year; they are divided into four terms. After the first and third term, they have a week break before starting another. The second term’s break lasts a month and the big break usually lasts about six weeks.

In Europe, France, their classes begin at the same date but during winter and spring vacation, it is divided into three zones to avoid traffic congestion and tourism impact.

In the United Kingdom, that depends on their local council but they have half-term vacation for a week and between term vacation about two weeks. Their summer vacation is about six weeks.

In the United States, the school schedule depends on the individual school districts, complying with their encompassed state educational laws. They have the freedom to go on the traditional or balanced.

Come to think of it, our country is soon to be federalized. That means, the Department of Education’s responsibility of scheduling might be delegated to the states but they must keep the minimal regulation on the set numbers of instructional and INSET days.

Anyway, enjoy your new school year.

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