CHED urged to revert to old school calendar

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

“The question we need to ask is: Are college students heatproof?”

This was the pointed question posed by Ilonggo lawmaker and Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raoul Manuel to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), urging them to reconsider reverting to the old academic calendar for higher education institutions (HEIs).

In a statement on Monday, May 27, Manuel suggested that online classes or distance learning should not be the sole solution offered by CHED in circumstances where weather conditions could potentially lead to heat cramps or heat exhaustion among students.

Several HEIs in Iloilo suspended classes since April due to the high heat indices forecasted by the state weather bureau.

While most degree programs shifted to alternative delivery modes, health-inclined programs continued with face-to-face classes despite the extreme weather conditions.

Manuel called on CHED to review the policy of many universities that start their academic year in August or September.

He criticized the commission’s “obsession over international standards,” highlighting that the shift initiated by the University of the Philippines (UP) in 2014 to move the academic calendar has been followed by many other universities for the sake of being “internationally competitive.”

“Since UP began the trend in 2014 to move the calendar, many other universities have followed suit for the sake of being ‘internationally competitive,’ but has the quality of education improved because of this calendar shift?” he stressed.

Manuel emphasized that there is no evidence suggesting the quality of education has improved due to the calendar shift, noting that HEIs in the country have merely aligned with the standards of foreign universities, leaving students to endure the extreme heat.

He further argued that the “colonial” calendar shift was unnecessary. “It is cosmetic, unscientific, and unnecessary. Let’s revert the college school year to begin in June,” he added.

Manuel also commended the government’s approval for the gradual return to the old academic calendar, where classes begin in June and end in March.

A press release from the Presidential Communications Office on May 22 indicated that the upcoming school year 2024 to 2025 is slated to begin on July 29 and end on April 15, 2025.

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