Start the School Year in September
Posted by butalidnl on 5 August 2011
The confusion and inconvenience caused by the recent typhoons and the belated declaration of suspension of classes by the Department of Ed (DepED) and the Commission for Higher Education (CHED) have led some people to ask: why don’t we just move the beginning of the school year to September so that the heaviest part of the rainy season would be over by then.
Why not, indeed. For some strange reason, the Philippine school year starts in June. For most of the world, it starts in September. I suggest that we join the world and also start our school year in September.
September is Logical
The idea to start the year in June probably arose from the unique Philippine concept that ‘summer’ is in April-May. This is because this is our dry season, and usually is the hottest part of the year for a big part of the country. But summer really falls in July-August in the northern hemisphere. The idea to have vacation during our ‘summer’ was probably because the lawmakers think that students would have a hard time studying when the weather is hot.
But, from the experience of students trudging to school in the rain during the rainy season, rain is at least as debilitating as the heat of summer. And add to that, the frequency of typhoons, means that very often students struggle to go to school in the rain, only to be turned back because classes had been suspended.
Another reason why September is logical, is because the school year falls neatly into place. The first semester would then end before the Christmas break. And the second semester would start with the new year. There would be no assignments during the Christmas break, nor exams right after the vacation. Students would also have a longer Christmas break.
This would be much better than the present system of first semester from June to October, followed by a few weeks semestral break, and then the second semester starting in November, a Christmas break, and then continue till March.
Synchronize with the World
Starting the school year in September would also synchronize schedules with the rest of the world. For people with relatives abroad, this would mean that children would have vacation when their cousins from abroad visit. Or when their parents who work abroad take their vacation leave during the summer period.
It would also be convenient for foreign students to study in the Philippines for a semester or two. Now, they stand to lose a whole semester, because they need to stop studying abroad in December, to be able to study in the Philippines in June.
I am sure this is one reason why the Philippines does not have that many exchange students. Reciprocally, the schedule mismatch means that Filipino students also lose a semester when they study abroad.