Escudero wants synchronized opening of classes by 2018

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Francis Escudero wants to synchronize the start of the academic year in all Philippines schools starting 2018.

Escudero, chair of the Senate education committee, filed Senate Bill 1432, seeking to mandate that all public and private schools start their school year on the second Monday of August but not later than the second Monday of September.

At present, some schools still start their academic year in June while others begin in August.

Escudero said a majority of the world's top institutions start their academic calendar in August or September. Aligning the country's academic calendar with the rest of the world would be beneficial for the Philippines, he added.

“Our engagement with the world's top universities will be greatly facilitated with the alignment of our academic calendar with the rest of the world,” the senator said.

He said the synchronization of the academic calendar will assist in research activities between local and international universities and will help increase student participation in exchange programs.

“In the rankings of the educational institutions of the world, our top universities always lag behind our ASEAN counterparts. We, therefore, need to engage with the top educational institutions of the world in order to benefit from their experience and expertise and hopefully raise the standards of our education,” Escudero said.

“This will also help us avoid the dire economic consequences among sectors or industries which benefit from common break schedule of students, most especially those families engaged in agriculture who need as many helping hands as possible,” he added.

Escudero said the opening of classes in August or September would also give students from agricultural families and communities more time to help in farming activities, since June to September is the planting season for rice. The measure, if passed into law, would also ease the burden of parents who deal with multiple school calendars.

According to the 2016-2017 data of the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges, 69 state universities and colleges (SUCs) start their classes in June, while 34, including the University of the Philippines, already open the school year in August.

The Department of Education, however, announced that classes in all public elementary and high schools will officially start on June 5. Private schools may deviate from this but must start their classes not later than the last day of August. –

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email