In 2014, a number of academic institutions have opted to adjust the start of their academic school year from June to July or August to align with global partner schools and universities. To institutionalize the change, Pampanga Representative Aurelio Gonzalez, Jr. is now proposing a bill for all public and private schools and academic institutions to follow suit.
House Bill No. 7350 or the proposed Academic Calendar Shift Act of 2018 seeks to mandate that all public and private schools and academic institutions start the school year as early as the second Monday of August, but not later than the second Monday of September starting this year.
Gonzales cites in the proposed bill that the primary goal is to "raise the academic competitiveness of our students with those of our foreign neighbors as well as the academic standing and reputation of our educational institutions." A similar bill to synchronize the start of the school year by 2018 was already submitted last year.
The bill states that the shift of the start of the school year would help attain that goal by having the lessons and curriculum of our educational institutions aligned with that of foreign countries. It would then be easier for Filipino students to study abroad through student exchange programs, and thus also make it easier for the graduates to land job opportunities abroad.
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Foreign faculty would also be able to share their knowledge and expertise here when the academic calendars are in sync since scheduling wouldn't be an issue. Filipino teachers and professors would be able to do the same, and could even bring them opportunities to teach overseas.
"By moving the calendar away from June to August, it will result in less cancellation of classes due to heavy rains that occur during this period, protecting students from unnecessary harm that may occur from the typhoon season," Gonzalez added.
If enacted into law, it would be a welcome change for parents who are protesting a memo from the Department of Education (DepEd) that all kindergarten student and grade one students be five and six years old, respectively, by August 31, to be able to enroll in public schools this school year. Lawyer Atty. Joseph Noel Estrada, who has taken on the case on behalf of concerned parents, argued several points opposing the DepEd's age requirement.
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The case already received a three-day temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by Executive Judge Danilo Cruz in Pasig City. On a separate court order dated April 6, Presiding Judge Divina Gracia Pelino extended the TRO coverage until April 23, reported Mb.com.ph. DepEd Undersecretary Tonisito Umali, on the other hand, told the same news outlet via phone interview that the department "will comply" with the TRO, but is yet to release an official statement.