Calendar June July August 2024

Why reverting to old academic calendar is just a ‘stopgap’ measure

In 2023, over a hundred students of a public school in Laguna were hospitalized due to dehydration after a surprise fire drill.

The school official said the temperature when the fire drill happened on March 23, 2023 was between 39 and 42°C. It was very hot and humid. In a tropical country like the Philippines, where classrooms are not built to withstand extreme heat, conditions are not conducive to learning.

June to August  Calendar Printable
June to August Calendar Printable

Classes in the Philippines typically begin on the first Monday of June concluding in March, as mandated by Republic Act 7797. But in 2020, this law was amended to accommodate changes in school opening schedules. Classes should start not later than the last day of August, the new law said.

The country made the adjustment due to the impact of the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown in 2020. But even prior to the pandemic, there had been calls to make the academic calendar in the Philippines synchronized with other countries, especially with its Southeast Asian counterparts. Proponents of the shift also said that the months of June and July coincide with the typhoon season, resulting in class disruptions.

Calendar June July August  June calendar printable, Calendar
Calendar June July August June calendar printable, Calendar

Since then, the academic year had shifted to August, meaning, students were now in school from April to May – a time that previously marked their summer vacation in the previous school calendar, and a period when high temperatures were often recorded.

But after a year of full adjustment, public clamor to revert to the old academic calendar intensified. A survey commissioned by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the basic education committee, revealed that 8 in 10 Filipinos want summer breaks back to April and May. This prompted the Department of Education (DepEd) to gradually revert to the old calendar.

“The shift to the school calendar back to the usual April-May break will be gradual. We will end on May 31, but we will open around July 29. And then slowly, we will move it back until we return to the normal April-May break,” DepEd Undersecretary Michael Poa said.

Poa said the decision to revert to the old academic calendar was based on consultations done by DepEd. “This is a decision made by the people,” he added.

The education official said that by school year 2026-2027, schools would open in June and end in April, based on DepEd’s projected timeline. By school year 2027-2028, schools would open in June and end by mid-March.

While the reversal of the academic calendar was welcome news to many, education experts said that it was just another “stopgap” measure. Meanwhile, for critics, it was just another “populist” policy by Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte.


“I think it’s more of a stopgap because DepEd couldn’t address the heat problems in the classrooms, which is the main reason why the public school teachers and students had clamored for the revert,” said education psychologist and University of the Philippines professor Lizamarie Olegario.

Olegario noted that Filipino students suffer from extreme heat in their classrooms because school buildings do not have “enough ventilation.” She enumerated the following issues that need to be addressed instead of reverting to the old calendar.

Classroom shortages had been a problem even before the pandemic. In some schools, 75 to 80 students were packed into one classroom meant for only 40. To make up for the lack of classrooms, class shifting had been implemented to accommodate enrollees every year. (READ: Classroom shortages greet teachers, students in opening of classes)

At a Senate hearing in 2023, it was revealed that DepEd would need P397 billion to address the 159,000 classroom backlog nationwide. Gatchalian also noted that the congestion rate in schools was at 32% for Kinder to Grade 6, 41% in Junior High School, and about 50% in Senior High School.

While electric fans are a common appliance in any Filipino household, there are still classrooms that don’t have them.

At a separate Senate inquiry in 2023, Senator Raffy Tulfo blasted the DepEd for soliciting funds from students – through the Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) – to buy school supplies and appliances such as electric fans for classroom use, as these should be provided by the agency.

Equip teachers with remote learning teaching skills

There have been calls to “institutionalize” remote or blended learning in Philippine basic education so class suspensions would be lessened in case of typhoons or any natural disasters.

But doing so is not as easy as ABC because access to technology for both teachers and students remains a problem up to this day. Teachers are also not equipped with adequate know-how on how to use technology for learning.

As if the lack of resources for teachers wasn’t enough, the DepEd even got embroiled in a corruption controversy for purchasing “overpriced and outdated” laptops in 2021.

A separate Rappler investigation also revealed that laptops procured by the agency were being resold in markets.

“Since it has been decided that basic education reverts to the old calendar, during the rainy season, the teachers and the students should be equipped to have automatic online learning. There should be no need to wait for announcements from local officials for cancellation of classes,” Olegario said.


In a statement on February 21, the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) said that with the DepEd’s move to revert to the old academic calendar, the agency should tap local governments to address issues in the education sector, “as many of the concerns can be addressed at the local level.”

“The decision to revert back to the old academic calendar should not be seen as a stopgap measure to address the underlying issues that make the existing school calendar unbearable. To safeguard our children, we need to make sure that classrooms can withstand extreme weather conditions and have transportation support available,” the group said.

In an interview with Rappler on February 28, PBEd executive director Justine Raagas emphasized that the problem in Philippine basic education is not really the academic calendar.

“Regardless of the academic school year, one of the biggest problems is, our classrooms are not conducive for learning. The problem goes beyond the shifting measures. The problem is classrooms can’t withstand typhoons, or classrooms are in very poor conditions that they don’t allow proper ventilation,” Raagas said.

Learning loss due to long break

But another issue that cropped up with the reversal to the old academic calendar is the looming long break for senior high school students going to college.

If by school year 2027-2028, basic education in the Philippines would open in June and end in March, that would mean senior high school graduates would have a five-month break before they enter college.

Raagas fears that the long break would result in learning loss, especially since students’ foundational knowledge isn’t strong.

“Learning loss occurs whenever a student is outside the classroom. If you remember in 2020, schools opened late, sometime in October 2020. Even in normal times, where you have two months of summer break, that results in learning loss. That’s why the first few weeks of the start of classes, it’s for catch-up, and review of past lessons,” she noted.

Learning loss, according to the Journal of Education and e-Learning Research, “occurs when students lose knowledge and skills generally or specifically or there is an academic impediment due to prolonged gaps or the discontinuation of the educational process.”

With the recent move by DepEd, should the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) also change its academic calendar? Olegario and Raagas don’t think so.

“For college, it was done because they want to align with international standards and for better partnership. It could stay that way but the basic education should improve,” Raagas said, noting that DepEd should improve its teaching quality so the long break would not result in learning loss.

For Olegario, higher education institutions in the Philippines “do not have problems with ventilation in the classrooms.”

“I’ve never heard of similar issues mentioned by the public school children. I’ve never seen classes that are too cramped, unlike what I saw in some elementary and public high schools,” she added.

CHED has not released any statement yet on the recent move by the DepEd.

The public hopes that the revert to the old academic calendar will benefit students and help in learning recovery.

“If we make the decision, let’s stick to it. It’s not fair that we experiment on schedules at the expense of our students. [Our] children require normalcy and stability in their education,” Raagas said. –